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fly further disillusionment In 

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My further disillusionment in 




Further Disillusiosiment 

Emma Goldman 

Being a Continuation of Miss Goldman's 

Experiences in Russia as given in "My 

Disillusionment in Russia" 

'C" r T"" 4l| fi 

$ If ^M 

I 3 

'^'- ^"I,*^ 

Garden City New York 

Doubleday, Page & Company 




Hr st Edition 


SOME years ago Emma Goldman was de- 
ported from this country and went to 
Russia to investigate personally what she 
believed to be the nearest approach to a Utopia 
which the world had yet produced. 

Her experiences so thoroughly disillusioned her 
that she conceived it to be her duty to set forth 
these experiences and her conclusions, which she 
did in a book entitled "My Disillusionment in 
Russia/* The rights in this material she sold 
to an American newspaper syndicate from whom 
we purchased the book rights, and by whom we 
were furnished with the copy for the book. We 
published the book under date of October 26, 
1923, and not until it was in circulation did we 
learn that it was minus the last twelve chapters 
which had never been turned over to us by the 
newspaper syndicate, nor had any intimation 
been given us that the copy turned over to us 
was incomplete. While the conclusion of the 
book as we published it was abrupt it was not 



more so than is frequently the case; and, there- 
fore, there was no internal evidence to indicate 
its incompleteness. 

We are now rectifying this serious error by the 
publication in a separate volume of the twelve 
missing chapters under the title, "My Further 
Disillusionment in Russia." This material is 
even more important in its revelations and of 
even greater interest than that already pub- 


THE annals of literature tell of books 
expurgated, of whole chapters eliminated 
or changed beyond recognition. But I 
believe it has rarely happened that a work 
should be published with more than a third of 
it left out and without the reviewers being 
aware of the fact. This doubtful distinction has 
fallen to the lot of my work on Russia. 

The story of that painful experience might 
well make another chapter, but for the present it 
is sufficient to give the bare facts of the case. 

My manuscript was sent to the original pur- 
chaser in two parts, at different times. Subse- 
quently the publishing house of Doubleday, 
Page & Co. bought the rights to my work, but 
when the first printed copies reached me I dis- 
covered to my dismay that not only had my 
original title, "My Two Years in Russia/' been 
changed to "My Disillusionment in Russia," 
but that the last twelve chapters were entirely 
missing, including my Afterword which is, at 
least to myself, the most vital part. 



There followed an exchange of cables and 
letters, which gradually elicited the fact that 
Doubleday, Page & Co. had secured my MSS. 
from a literary agency in the good faith that it 
was complete. By some conspiracy of circum- 
stances the second instalment of my work either 
failed to reach the original purchaser or was lost 
in his office. At any rate, the book was pub- 
lished without any one's suspecting its incom- 

The present volume contains the chapters 
missing from the first edition, and I deeply ap- 
preciate the devotion of my friends who have 
made the appearance of this additional issue pos- 
sible in justice to myself and to my readers. 

The adventures of my MSS. are not without 
their humorous side, which throws a peculiar 
light on the critics. Of almost a hundred Amer- 
ican reviewers of my work only two sensed 
its incompleteness. And, incidentally, one of 
them is not a " regular " critic but a librarian. 
Rather a reflection on professional acumen or 

It were a waste of time to notice the " criti- 
cism" of those who have either not read the book 
or lacked the wit to realize that it was unfin- 
ished. Of all the alleged "reviews' 1 only two 


deserve consideration as written by earnest and 
able men: those of Henry Alsberg and H. L. 

Mr. Alsberg believes that the present title of 
my book is more appropriate to its contents than 
the name I had chosen. My disillusionment, he 
asserts, is not only with the BolshevikI but with 
the Revolution itself. In support of this con- 
tention he cites Bukharin's remark to the effect 
that " a revolution cannot be accomplished with- 
out terror, disorganization, and even wanton 
destruction, any more than an omelette can be 
made without breaking the eggs/' But it seems 
not to have occurred to Mr. Alsberg that, though 
the breaking of the eggs is necessary, no omelette 
can be made if the yolk be thrown away. And 
that is precisely what the Communist Party did 
to the Russian Revolution. For the yolk they 
substituted Bolshevism, more specifically Lenin- 
ism, with the result as shown in my book a 
result that is gradually being realized as an en- 
tire failure by the world at large. 

Mr. Alsberg also believes that it was "grim 
necessity, the driving need to preserve not the 
Revolution but the remnants of civilization, 
which forced the Bolsheviki to lay hands on 
every available weapon, the Terror, the Tcheka* 


suppression of free speech and press, censorship, 
military conscription, conscription of labour, 
requisitioning of peasants * crops, even bribery 
and corruption/' Mr. Alsberg evidently agrees 
with me that the Communists employed all 
these methods; and that, as he himself states, 
"the 'means' largely determines the 'end 5 " a 
conclusion the proof and demonstration of 
which are contained in my book. The only 
mistake in this viewpoint, however a most vital 
one is the assumption that the Bolsheviki 
were forced to resort to the methods referred to 
in order to *' preserve the remnants of civiliza- 
tion/* Such a view is based on an entire mis- 
conception of the philosophy and practice of 
Bolshevism. Nothing can be further from the 
desire or intention of Leninism than the u preser- 
vation of the remnants of civilization/* Had 
Mr, Alsberg said instead "the preservation of 
the Communist dictatorship, of the political 
absolutism of the Party", he would have come 
nearer the truth, and we should have no quarrel 
on the matter. We must not fail to consider 
that the Bolsheviki continue to employ exactly 
the same methods to-day as they did in what 
Mr. Alsberg calls "the moments of grim neces- 
sity, in 1919, 1920, and 1921." 


We are in 1924. The military fronts have 
long ago been liquidated; internal counter- 
revolution is suppressed; the old bourgeoisie is 
eliminated; the "moments of grim necessity" 
are past. In fact, Russia is being politically 
recognized by various governments of Europe 
and Asia, and the Bolsheviki are inviting inter- 
national capital to come to their country whose 
natural wealth, as Tchicherin assures the world 
capitalists, is "waiting to be exploited." The 
"moments of grim necessity' 5 are gone, but the 
Terror, the Tcheka, suppression of free speech 
and press, and all the other Communist methods 
enumerated by Mr. Alsberg still remain in force. 
Indeed, they are being applied even more bru- 
tally and barbarously since the death of Lenin. 
Is it to "preserve the remnants of civilization/* 
as Mr. Alsberg claims, or to strengthen the 
weakening Party dictatorship? 

Mr. Alsberg charges me with believing that 
"had the Russians made the Revolution a la 
Bakunin instead of a la Marx" the result would 
have been different and more satisfactory. I 
plead guilty to the charge. In truth, I not only 
believe so; I am certain of it. The Russian 
Revolution more correctly, Bolshevik methods 
- conclusively demonstrated how a revolution 


should not be made. The Russian experiment has 
proven the fatality of a political party usurping 
the functions of the revolutionary people, of an 
omnipotent State seeking to impose its will upon 
the country, of a dictatorship attempting to 
"organize" the new life. But I need not repeat 
here the reflections summed up in my concluding 
chapter. Unfortunately they did not appear 
In the first edition of my work. Otherwise Mr. 
Alsberg might perhaps have written differently. 
Mr. Mencken in his review believes me a 
" prejudiced witness," because I an Anarchist 
am opposed to government, whatever its form. 
Yet the whole first part of rny book entirely 
disproves the assumption of my prejudice, I 
defended the Bolsheviki while still in America, 
and for long months in Russia I sought every 
opportunity to cooperate with them and to aid 
in the great task of revolutionary upbuilding. 
Though an Anarchist and an anti-governmen- 
talist, I had not come to Russia expecting to 
find my ideal realized. I saw in the Bolsheviki 
the symbol of the Revolution and I was eager 
to work with them in spite of our differ- 
ences. However, if lack of aloofness from 
the actualities of life means that one cannot 
judge things fairly, then Mr. Mencken is right* 


One could not have lived through two years of 
Communist terror, of a regime involving the 
enslavement of the whole people, the annihila- 
tion of the most fundamental values, human and 
revolutionary, of corruption and mismanage- 
ment, and yet have remained aloof or " impar- 
tial" in Mr, Mencken's sense. I doubt whether 
Mr. Mencken, though not an Anarchist, would 
have done so. Could he, being human? 

In conclusion, the present publication of the 
chapters missing in the first edition comes at a 
very significant period in the life of Russia. 
When the "Nep," Lenin's new economic policy, 
was introduced, there rose the hope of a better 
day, of a gradual abolition of the policies of terror 
and persecution. The Communist dictatorship 
seemed inclined to relax its stranglehold upon 
the thoughts and lives of the people. But the 
hope was short-lived. Since the death of Lenin 
the Bolsheviki have returned to the terror of 
the worst days of their regime. Despotism, 
fearing for its power, seeks safety in bloodshed. 
More timely even than in 1922 is my book 

When the first series of my articles on Russia 
appeared, in 1922, and later when my book was 
published, I was bitterly attacked and de- 


Bounced by American radicals of almost every 
camp. But I felt confident that the time would 
come when the mask would be torn from the 
false face of Bolshevism and the great delusion 
exposed. The time has come even sooner than 
I anticipated. In most civilized lands in 
France, England, Germany, in the Scandinavian 
and Latin countries, even in America the fog of 
blind faith is gradually lifting. The reactionary 
character of the Bolshevik regime is being real- 
ized by the masses, its terrorism and persecution 
of non-Communist opinion condemned. The 
torture of the political victims of the dictator- 
ship in the prisons of Russia, in the concentra- 
tion camps of the frozen North and in Siberian 
exile, is rousing the conscience of the more pro- 
gressive elements the world over. In almost 
every country societies for the defense and aid 
of the politicals imprisoned in Russia have been 
formed, with the object of securing their libera- 
tion and the establishment of freedom of opinion 
and expression in Russia. 

If my work will help in these efforts to throw 
light upon the real situation in Russia and to 
awaken the world to the true character of Bol- 
shevism and the fatality of dictatorship be it 
Fascist or Communist I shall bear with equa- 


nimity the misunderstanding and misrepresenta- 
tion of foe or friend. And I shall not regret 
the travail and struggle of spirit that produced 
this work, which now, after many vicissitudes, is 
at last complete in print. 

Berlin, June, 1924. 



PREFACE , vii 


I. ODESSA ........ i 

II. RETURNING TO Moscow ... 13 




KROPOTKIN ...... 54 














AT THE numerous stations between Kiev 
A\ and Odessa we frequently had to wait 
for days before we managed to make con- 
nections with trains going south. We employed 
our leisure in visiting the small towns and vil- 
lages, and formed many acquaintances. The 
markets were especially of interest to us. 

In the Kiev province by far the greater part 
of the population is Jewish. They had suffered 
many pogroms and were now living in constant 
terror of their repetition. But the will to live 
is indestructible, particularly in the Jew; other- 
wise centuries of persecution and slaughter would 
long since have destroyed the race. Its peculiar 
perseverance was manifest everywhere: the Jews 
continued to trade as if nothing had happened. 
The news that Americans were in town would 


quickly gather about us crowds of people anx- 
ious to hear of the New World. To them it 
was still a "new" world, of which they were as 
ignorant as they had been fifty years before. 
But not only America Russia itself was a 
sealed book to them. They knew that it was a 
country of pogroms, that some incomprehensible 
thing called revolution had happened, and that 
the Bolsheviki would not let them ply their 
trade. Even the younger element in the more 
distant villages was not much better informed. 

The difference between a famished population 
and one having access to food supplies was very 
noticeable. Between Kiev and Odessa products 
were extremely cheap as compared with northern 
Russia. Butter, for instance, was 250 rubles a 
pound as against 3,000 in Petrograd; sugar 350 
rubles, while in Moscow it was 5,000. White 
flour, almost impossible to obtain in the capitals, 
was here sold at 80 rubles a pound. Yet all 
along the journey we were besieged at the sta- 
tions by hungry people, begging for food. The 
country possessed plenty of supplies, but evi- 
dently the average person had no means of 
purchase. Especially terrible was the sight of 
the emaciated and ragged children, pleading for 
a crust of bread at the car windows. 


While in the neighbourhood of Zhmerenka we 
received the appalling news of the retreat of the 
Twelfth Army and the quick advance of the 
Polish forces. It was a veritable rout in which 
the Bolsheviki lost great stores of food and medi- 
cal supplies, of which Russia stood so much in 
need. The Polish operations and the Wrangel 
attacks from the Crimea threatened to cut our 
journey short. It had been our original purpose 
to visit the Caucasus but the new developments 
made travel farther than Odessa impracticable, 
We still hoped, however, to continue our trip 
provided we could secure an extension of time 
for our car permit, which was to expire on 
October ist. 

We reached Odessa just after a fire had com- 
pletely destroyed the main telegraph and electric 
stations, putting the city in total darkness. As 
it would require considerable time to make re- 
pairs, the situation increased the nervousness 
of the city, for darkness favoured counter- 
revolutionary plots. Rumours were afloat of 
Kiev having been taken by the Poles and of the 
approach of Wrangel. 

It was our custom to pay our first official visit 
to the Ispolkom (Executive Committee) in order 
to familiarize ourselves with the situation and 


the general work scheme of the local institutions. 
In Odessa there was a Revkom instead, indicating 
that the affairs of the city had not yet been suffi- 
ciently organized to establish a Soviet and its 
Executive Committee. The Chairman of the 
Revkom was a young man, not over thirty, with 
a hard face. After scrutinizing our documents 
carefully and learning the objects of our mission 
he stated that he could not be of any assistance 
to us. The situation in Odessa was precarious, 
and as he was busy with many pressing matters, 
the Expedition would have to look out for itself. 
He gave us permission, however, to visit the 
Soviet institutions and to collect whatever we 
might be able to procure. He did not consider 
the Petrogfad Museum and its work of much 
importance. He was an ordinary worker ap- 
pointed to a high government position, not 
over-intelligent and apparently antagonistic to 
everything "intellectual/' 

The prospects did not look promising, but, of 
course, we could not leave Odessa without mak- 
ing a serious effort to collect the rich historical 
material which we knew to be in the city. Re- 
turning from the Revkom we happened to meet 
a group of young people who recognized us, they 
having lived in America before* They assured 


us that we could expect no aid from the Chair- 
man who was known as a narrow fanatic em- 
bittered against the intelligentsia. Several of 
the group offered to introduce us to other officials 
who would be able and willing to assist us in our 
efforts. We learned that the Chairman of Pub- 
lic Economy in Odessa was an Anarchist, and 
that the head of the Metal Trade Unions was 
also an Anarchist. The information held out 
hope that we might accomplish something in 
Odessa, after all. 

We lost no time in visiting the two men, but 
the result was not encouraging. Both were 
willing to do everything in their power, but 
warned us to expect no returns because Odessa, 
as they phrased it, was The City of Sabotage. 

It must unfortunately be admitted that our 
experience justified that characterization. I had 
seen a great deal of sabotage in various Soviet 
institutions in every city I had visited. Every- 
where the numerous employees deliberately 
wasted their time while thousands of applicants 
spent days and weeks in the corridors and offices 
without receiving the least attention. The 
greater part of Russia did nothing else but stand 
in line, waiting for the bureaucrats, big and little, 
to admit them to their sanctums. But bad as 


conditions were in other cities, nowhere did I 
find such systematic sabotage as in Odessa. 
From the highest to the lowest Soviet worker 
everyone was busy with something other than 
the work entrusted to him. Office hours were 
supposed to begin at ten, but as a rule no official 
could be found in any of the departments till 
noon or even later. At three in the afternoon 
the institutions closed, and therefore very little 
work was accomplished. 

We remained in Odessa two weeks, but so far 
as material collected through official channels was 
concerned, we got practically nothing. What- 
ever we accomplished was due to the aid of pri- 
vate persons and members of outlawed political 
parties. From them we received valuable ma- 
terial concerning the persecution of the Menshe- 
viki and the labour organizations where the 
influence of the former was strongest* The man- 
agement of several unions had been entirely sus- 
pended at the time we arrived in Odessa, and 
there began a complete reorganization of them 
by the Communists, for the purpose of eliminat- 
ing all opposing elements. 

Among the interesting people we met in 
Odessa were the Zionists, including some well- 
known literary and professional men. It was at 


Doctor N *s house that we met them. The 

Doctor himself was the owner of a sanatorium 
located on a beautiful spot overlooking the Black 
Sea and considered the best in the South. The 
institution had been nationalized by the Bol- 
sheviki, but Doctor N was left in charge and 
was even permitted to take in private patients. 
In return for that privilege he had to board and 
give medical attention to Soviet patients for one 
third of the established price. 

Late into the night we discussed the Russian 
situation with the guests at the Doctor's house. 
Most of them were antagonistic to the Bolshevik 
regime. "Lenin let loose the motto c Rob the 
robbers/ and at least here in the Ukraina his 
followers have carried out the order to the 
letter," said the Doctor. It was the general 
opinion of the gathering that the confusion and 
ruin which resulted were due to that policy. 
It robbed the old bourgeoisie but did not benefit 
the workers. The Doctor cited his sanatorium 
as an illustration. When the Bolsheviki took 
it over they declared that the proletariat was 
to own and enjoy the place, but not a single 
worker had since been received as patient, not 
even a proletarian Communist. The people the 
Soviet sent to the sanatorium were members of 


the new bureaucracy, usually the high officials* 
The Chairman of the Tcheka, for instance, who 
suffered from nervous breakdown, had been in 
the institution several times. "He works six- 
teen hours a day sending people to their death/* 
the Doctor commented. "You can easily imag- 
ine how it feels to take care of such a man/' 

One of the Bundist writers present held that 
the Bolsheviki were trying to imitate the French 
Revolution. Corruption was rampant; it put 
in the shade the worst crimes of the Jacobins. 
Not a day passed but that people were arrested 
for trading in Tsarist or Kerensky money; yet 
it was an open secret that the Chairman of the 
Tcheka himself speculated in valuta. The de- 
pravity of the Tcheka was a matter of common 
knowledge. People were shot for slight offences, 
while those who could afford to give bribes were 
freed even after they had been sentenced to 
death. It repeatedly happened that the rich 
relatives of an arrested man would be notified 
by the Tcheka of his execution. A few weeks 
later, after they had somewhat recovered from 
their shock and grief, they would be informed 
that the report of the man's death was erroneous, 
that he was alive and could be liberated by pay- 
ing a fine, usually a very high one. Of course, 


the relatives would strain every effort to raise 
the money. Then they would suddenly be ar- 
rested for attempted bribery, their money con- 
fiscated and the prisoner shot. 

One of the Doctor's guests, who lived in the 
"Tcheka Street " told of the refinements of 
terrorism practised to awe the population. Al- 
most daily he witnessed the same sights: early in 
the morning mounted Tchekists would dash by, 
shooting into the air a warning that all windows 
must be closed. Then came motor trucks loaded 
with the doomed. They lay in rows, faces 
downward, their hands tied, soldiers standing 
over them with rifles. They were being carried 
to execution outside the city. A few hours later 
the trucks would return empty save for a few 
soldiers. Blood dripped from the wagons, leav- 
ing a crimson streak on the pavement all the 
way to the Tcheka headquarters. 

It was not possible that Moscow did not know 
about these things, the Zionists asserted. The 
fear of the central power was too great to permit 
of the local Tcheka doing anything not approved 
by Moscow. But it was no wonder that the 
Bolsheviki had to resort to such methods. A 
small political party trying to control a popula- 
tion of 150,000,000, which bitterly hated the 


Communists, could not hope to maintain itself 
without such an institution as the Tcheka. 
The latter was characteristic of the basic prin- 
ciples of Bolshevik conception: the country 
must be forced to be saved by the Communist 
Party. The pretext that the Bolsheviki were 
defending the Revolution was a hollow mockery. 
As a matter of fact, they had entirely destroyed 

It had grown so late that the members of our 
expedition could not return to the car, fearing 
difficulty in locating it, because of the dark night. 
We therefore remained at the home of our host, 
to meet next day a group of men of national 
reputation, including Bialeck, the greatest living 
Jewish poet, known to Jews the world over. 
There was also present a literary investigator, 
who had made a special study of the question of 
pogroms. He had visited seventy-two cities, 
collecting the richest material to be had on the 
subject. It was his opinion that, contrary to 
accepted notion, the pogrom wave during the 
civil war period, between the years 1918 and 
1921, under the various Ukrainian governments, 
was even worse than the most terrible Jewish 
massacres under the Tsars. There had taken 
place no pogroms during the Bolshevik regime* 


but he believed that the atmosphere created by 
them intensified the anti- Jewish spirit and would 
some day break out in the wholesale slaughter of 
the Jews. He did not think that the Bolsheviki 
were particularly concerned in defending his 
race. In certain localities of the South the 
Jews, constantly exposed to assault and pillage 
by robber bands and occasionally by individual 
Red soldiers, had appealed to the Soviet Govern- 
ment for permission to organize themselves for 
self-defence, requesting that arms be given them. 
But in all such cases the Government refused. 

It was the general sentiment of the Zionists 
that the continuation of the Bolsheviki in power 
meant the destruction of the Jews. The Russian 
Jews, as a rule, were not workers. From time 
immemorial they had engaged in trade; but 
business had been destroyed by the Communists, 
and before the Jew could be turned into a worker 
he would deteriorate, as a race, and become ex- 
tinct. Specific Jewish culture, the most priceless 
thing to the Zionists, was frowned upon by the 
Bolsheviki. That phase of the situation seemed 
to affect them even more deeply than pogroms. 

These intellectual Jews were not of the prole* 
tarian class. They were bourgeois without any 
revolutionary spirit. Their criticism of the Bol- 


sheviki did not appeal to me for it was a criticism 
from the Right. If I had still believed in the 
Communists as the true champions of the Revo- 
lution I could have defended them against the 
Zionist complaints. But I myself had lost faith 
in the revolutionary integrity of the Bolshevikl 



IN A country where speech and press are so 
completely suppressed as in Russia it is not 
surprising that the human mind should feed 
on fancy and out of it weave the most incredible 
stories. Already, during my first months in 
Petrograd, I was amazed at the wild rumours that 
circulated in the city and were believed even by 
intelligent people. The Soviet press was inac- 
cessible to the population at large and there was 
no other news medium. Every morning Bolshe- 
vik bulletins and papers were pasted on the 
street corners, but in the bitter cold few people 
cared to pause to read them. Besides, there 
was little faith in the Communist press. Petro- 
grad was therefore completely cut off, not only 
from the Western world but even from the rest 
of Russia. An old revolutionist once said to me : 
" We not only don't know what is going on in the 
world or in Moscow; we are not even aware of 
what is happening in the next street." How- 


ever, the human mind will not be bottled up all 
the time. It must have and generally finds an 
outlet. Rumours of attempted raids on Petro- 
grad, stories that Zinoviev had been ducked in 
"Sovietsky soup" by some factory workers and 
that Moscow was captured by the Whites were 

Of Odessa it was related that enemy ships had 

been sighted off the coast, and there was much 

talk of an impending attack. Yet when we 

arrived we found the city quiet and leading its 

ordinary life. Except for the large markets, 

Odessa impressed me as a complete picture of 

Soviet rule. But we had not been gone a day 

from the city when, on our return to Moscow, 

we again met the same rumours. The success 

of the Polish forces and the hasty retreat of the 

Red Army furnished fuel to the over-excited 

imagination of the people. Everywhere the 

roads were blocked with military trains and the 

stations filled with soldiers spreading the panic 

of the rout. 

At several points the Soviet authorities were 
getting ready to evacuate at the first approach 
of danger. The population, however, could not 
do that. At the railroad stations along the 
route groups of people stood about discussing the 


impending attack. Fighting in Rostov, other 
cities already in the hands of Wrangel, bandits 
holding up trains and blowing up bridges, and 
similar stories kept everybody in a panic. It was 
of course impossible to verify the rumours. 
But we were informed that we could not continue 
to Rostov~on~the-Don, that city being already 
within the military zone. We were advised to 
start for Kiev and thence return to Moscow. It 
was hard to give up our plan of reaching Baku, 
but we had no choice. We could not venture 
too far, especially as our car permit was to expire 
within a short time. We decided to return to 
Moscow via Kiev. 

When we left Petrograd, we had promised to 
bring back from the South some sugar, white 
flour, and cereals for our starved friends who 
had lacked these necessities for three years. 
On the way to Kiev and Odessa we found provi- 
sions comparatively cheap; but now the prices 
had risen several hundred per cent. From an 
Odessa friend we learned of a place twenty versts 
[about thirteen miles] from Rakhno, a small vil- 
lage near Zhmerenka, where sugar, honey, and 
apple jelly could be had at small cost. We were 
not supposed to transport provisions to Petro- 
grad, though our car was immune from the usual 


Inspection by the Tcheka. But as we had no 
intention of selling anything, we felt justified in 
bringing some food for people who had been 
starving for years. We had our car detached 
at Zhmerenka, and two men of the expedition 
and myself went to Rakhno. 

It was no easy matter to induce the Zhmerenka 
peasants to take us to the next village. Would 
we give them salt, nails, or some other merchan- 
dise? Otherwise they would not go. We lost 
the best part of a day in a vain search, but at last 
we found a man who consented to drive us to 
the place in return for Kerensky rubles. The 
journey reminded me of the rocky road of good 
intentions: we were heaved up and down, jerked 
back and forth, like so many dice. After a 
seemingly endless trip, aching in every limb, we 
reached the village. It was poor and squalid* 
Jews constituting the main population. The 
peasants lived along the Rakhno road and visited 
the place only on market days. The Soviet 
officials were Gentiles. 

We carried a letter of introduction to a woman 
physician, the sister of our Odessa Bundist friend. 
She was to direct us how to go about procuring 
the provisions. Arriving at the Doctor's house 
we found her living in two small rooms, ill kept 


and unclean, with a dirty baby crawling about. 
The woman was busy making apple jelly. She 
was of the type of disillusioned intellectual now 
so frequently met in Russia. From her con- 
versation I learned that she and her husband, 
also a physician, had been detailed to that 
desolate spot. They were completely isolated 
from all intellectual life, having neither papers, 
books, nor associates. Her husband would begin 
his rounds early in the morning and return late 
at night, while she had to attend to her baby 
and household, besides taking care of her own 
patients. She had only recently recovered from 
typhus and it was hard for her to chop wood, 
carry water, wash and cook and look after her 
sick. But what made their life unbearable was 
the general antagonism to the intelligentsia. 
They had it constantly thrown up to them that 
they were bourgeois and counter-revolutionists, 
and they were charged with sabotage. It was 
only for the sake of her child that she continued 
the sordid life, the woman said; "otherwise it 
were better to be dead/' 

A young woman, poorly clad, but clean and 
neat, came to the house and was introduced as 
a school teacher. She at once got into conversa- 
tion with me. She was a Communist, she an- 


nounced, who was " doing her own thinking/' 
''Moscow may be autocratic/ 5 she said, "but. 
the authorities in the towns and villages here 
beat Moscow* They do as they please/' The 
provincial officials were flotsam washed ashore 
by the great storm. They had no revolutionary- 
past they had known no suffering for their 
Ideals. They were just slaves in positions of 
power. If she had not been a Communist herself, 
she would have been eliminated long ago, but 
she was determined to make a fight against the 
abuses in her district. As to the schools, they 
were doing as best they could under the circum- 
stances, but that was very little. They lacked 
everything. It was not so bad in the summer, 
but in the winter the children had to stay home 
because the class rooms were not heated. Was 
it true that Moscow was publishing glowing ac- 
counts of the great reduction in illiteracy ? Well, 
it was certainly exaggerated. In her village the 
progress was very slow. She had often wondered 
whether there was really much to so-called edu-** 
cation. Supposing the peasants should learn to 
read and write. Would that make them better 
and kinder men? If so, why is there so much 
cruelty, injustice, and strife in countries where 
people are not illiterate? The Russian peasant 


cannot read or write, but he has an innate sense 
of right and beauty. He can do wonderful 
things with his hands and he is no more brutal 
than the rest of the world. 

I was interested to find such an unusual view- 
point in one so young and in such an out-of-the- 
way place. The little teacher could not have been 
more than twenty-five. I encouraged her to speak 
of her reactions to the general policies and methods 
of her party. Did she approve of them, did she 
think them dictated by the revolutionary proc- 
ess? She was not a politician, she said; she did 
not know. She could judge only by the results 
and they were far from satisfactory. But she 
had faith in the Revolution. It had uprooted 
the very soil, it had given life a new meaning. 
Even the peasants were not the same no one 
was the same. Something great must come of 
all the confusion. 

The arrival of the Doctor turned the conver- 
sation into other channels. When informed of 
our errand he went in search of some tradesmen, 
but presently he returned to say that nothing 
could be done: it was the eve of Yom Kippur, 
and every Jew was in the synagogue. Heathen 
that I am, I did not know that I had come on 
the eve of that most solemn fast day. As we 


could not remain another day, we decided to 
return without having accomplished our pur- 

Here a new difficulty arose. Our driver would 
not budge unless we got an armed guard to 
accompany us. He was afraid of bandits: two 
nights previously, he said, they had attacked 
travellers in the forest. It became necessary 
to apply to the Chairman of the Militia. The 
latter was willing to help us, but all his men 
were in the synagogue, praying. Would we wait 
until the services were over? 

At last the people filed out from the synagogue 
and we were given two armed militiamen. It 
was rather hard on those Jewish boys, for it was 
a sin to ride on Yom Kippur. But no induce- 
ment could persuade the peasant to venture 
through the woods without military protection. 
Life is indeed a crazy quilt made of patches. 
The peasant, a true Ukrainian, would not have 
hesitated a moment to beat and rob Jews in a 
pogrom; yet he felt secure in the protection of 
Jews against the possible attack of his own co- 

We rode into the bright fall night, the sky 
dotted with stars. It was soothingly still, with 
all nature asleep. The driver and our escort 


discussed the bandits, competing in blood- 
curdling stories of the outrages committed by 
them. As we reached the dark forest 1 reflected 
that their loud voices would be the signal of 
our approach for any highwaymen who might 
be lying in wait. The soldiers stood up in the 
wagon, their rifles ready for action; the peasant 
crossed himself and lashed the horses into a mad 
gallop, keeping up the pace till we reached the 
open road again. It was all very exciting but 
we met no bandits. They must have been sabo- 
taging that night. 

We reached the station too late to make con- 
nections and had to wait until the morning. I 
, spent the n^ight in the company of a girl in soldier 
uniform, a Communist. She had been at every 
front, she declared, and had fought many ban- 
dits. She was a sort of Playboy of the Eastern 
World, romancing by the hour. Her favourite 
stories were of shooting. "A bunch of counter- 
revolutionists, White Guards and speculators," 
she would say; "they should all be shot." I 
thought of the little school teacher, the lovely 
spirit in the village, giving of herself in hard and 
painful service to the children, to beauty in life; 
and here, her comrade, also a young woman, but 
hardened and cruel, lacking all sense of revolu- 


tionary values both children of the same school, 
yet so unlike each other. 

In the morning we rejoined the Expedition in 
Zhmerenka and proceeded to Kiev, where we ar- 
rived by the end of September, to find the city 
completely changed. The panic of the Twelfth 
Army was in the air; the enemy was supposed 
to be only 150 versts [about ninety-nine miles] 
away and many Soviet Departments were be- 
ing evacuated, adding to the general uneasiness 
and fright, I visited Wetoshkin, the Chairman 
of the Revkom, and his secretary. The latter 
inquired about Odessa, anxious to know how 
they were doing there, whether they had sup- 
pressed trade, and how the Soviet Departments 
were working. I told him of the general sabo- 
tage, of the speculation and the horrors of the 
Tcheka. As to trade, the stores were closed and 
all signs were down, but the markets were doing 
big business. "Indeed? Well, you must tell 
this to Comrade Wetoshkin/* the Secretary cried 
gleefully* "What do you suppose Rakovsky 
was here and told us perfect wonders about the 
accomplishments of Odessa. He put us on the 
rack because we had not done as much. You 
must tell Wetoshkin all about Odessa; he will 
enjoy the joke on Rakovsky." 


I met Wetoshkin on the stairs as I was leaving 
the office. He looked thinner than when I had 
last seen him, and very worried. When asked 
about the impending danger, he made light of it. 
"We are not going to evacuate/* he said, "we 
remain right here. It is the only way to reas- 
sure the public." He, too, inquired about Odessa. 
I promised to call again later, as I had no time 
just then, but I did not have the chance to see 
Wetoshkin again to furnish that joke on Rakov- 
sky. We left Kiev within two days. 

At Bryansk, an industrial centre not far away 
from Moscow, we came upon large posters an- 
nouncing that Makhno was again with the Bol- 
sheviki, and that he was distinguishing himself 
by daring exploits against Wrangel. It was 
startling news, in view of the fact that the Soviet 
papers had constantly painted Makhno as 
a bandit, counter-revolutionary, and traitor. 
What had happened to bring about this change 
of attitude and tone ? The thrilling adventure of 
having our car held up and ourselves carried off 
as prisoners by the Makhnovtsi did not come off. 
By the time we reached the district where 
Makhno had been operating in September, he 
was cut off from us. It would have been very 
interesting to meet the peasant leader face to 



face and hear at first hand what he was about. 
He was undoubtedly the most picturesque and 
vital figure brought to the fore by the Revolu- 
tion in the South and now he was again with 
the Bolsheviki. What had happened? There 
was no way of knowing until we should reach 

From a copy of the Izvestia that fell into our 
hands en route, we learned the sad news of the 
death of John Reed. It was a great blow to 
those of us who had known Jack. The last time 
I saw him was at the guest house, the Hotel 
International, in Petrograd. He had just re- 
turned from Finland, after his imprisonment 
there, and was ill in bed. I was informed that 
Jack was alone and without proper care, and I 
went up to nurse him. He was in a bad state, all 
swollen and with a nasty rash on his arms, the 
result of malnutrition. In Finland he had been 
fed almost exclusively on dried fish and had been 
otherwise wretchedly treated. He was a very 
sick man, but his spirit remained the same. No 
matter how radically one disagreed with Jack, 
one could not help loving his big, generous spirit, 
and now he was dead, his life laid down in the 
service of the Revolution, as he believed. 

Arriving in Moscow I immediately went to the 


guest house, the Delovol Dvor, where stayed 
Louise Bryant, Jack's wife. I found her terribly 
1 distraught and glad to see one who had known 
Jack so well. We talked of him, of his illness, 
his suffering and his untimely death. She was 
much embittered because, she claimed, Jack had 
been ordered to Baku to attend the Congress 
of the Eastern peoples when he was already very 
ill. He returned a dying man. But even then 
he could have been saved had he been given 
competent medical attention. He lay in his 
room for a week without the doctors making up 
their mind as to the nature of his illness. Then 
it was too late. I could well understand Louise's 
feelings, though I was convinced that everything 
humanly possible had been done for Reed. I 
knew that whatever else might be said against 
the Bolsheviki, it could not be charged that they 
neglect those who serve them. On the contrary, 
they are generous masters. But Louise had lost 
what was most precious to her. 

During the conversation she asked me about 
my experiences and I told her of the conflict 
within me, of the desperate effort I had been 
making to find my way out of the chaos, and 
that now the fog was lifting, and I was beginning 
to differentiate between the Bolsheviki and the 


Revolution, Ever since I had come to Russia 
I had begun to sense that all was not well with 
the Bolshevik regime, and I felt as if caught 
in a trap. "How uncanny!" Louise suddenly 
gripped my arm and stared at me with wild eyes. 
"* Caught in a trap' were the very words Jack 
repeated in his delirium." I realized that poor 
Jack had also begun to see beneath the surface. 
His was the free, unfettered spirit striving for 
the real values of life. It would be chafed when 
bound by a dogma which proclaimed itself im- 
mutable. Had Jack lived he would no doubt 
have clung valiantly to the thing which had 
caught him in the trap. But in the face of death 
the mind of man sometimes becomes luminous; 
it sees in a flash what in man's normal condition 
is obscure and hidden from him. It was not at 
all strange to me that Jack should have felt as I 
did, as everyone who is not a zealot must feel in 
Russia caught in a trap. 



THE Expedition was to proceed to Petro- 
grad the next day, but Louise begged me 
to remain for the funeral. Sunday, Oc- 
tober 23rd, several friends rode with her to the 
Trade Union House where Reed's body lay in 
state. I accompanied Louise when the proces- 
sion started for the Red Square. There were 
speeches much cold stereotyped declamation 
about the value of Jack Reed to the Revolution 
and to the Communist Party. It all sounded 
mechanical, far removed from the spirit of the 
dead man in the fresh grave. One speaker only 
dwelt on the real Jack Reed Alexandra Kollon- 
tay. She had caught the artist's soul, infinitely 
greater in its depth and beauty than any dogma. 
She used the occasion to admonish her comrades. 
"We call ourselves Communists/* she said, 
" but are we really that ? Do we not rather draw 
the life essence from those who come to us, 
and when they are no longer of use, we let them 



fall by the wayside, neglected and forgotten? 
Our Communism and our comradeship are dead 
letters if we do not give out of ourselves to those 
who need us. Let us beware of such Commun- 
ism. It slays the best in our ranks. Jack Reed 
was among the best." 

The sincere words of Kollontay displeased the 
high Party members. Bukharin knitted his 
brows, Reinstein fidgeted about, others grum- 
bled. But I was glad of what Kollontay had 
said. Not only because what she said expresssed 
Jack Reed better than anything else said that 
day, but also because it brought her nearer to me. 
In America we had repeatedly tried to meet but 
never succeeded. When I reached Moscow, in 
March, 1920, Kollontay was ill. I saw her only 
for a little while before I returned to Petrograd. 
We spoke of the things that were troubling me. 
During the conversation Kollontay remarked: 
"Yes, we have many dull sides in Russia/* 
"Dull," I queried; "nothing more?" I was 
unpleasantly affected by what seemed to me a 
rather superficial view. But I reassured myself 
that Kollontay's inadequate English caused her 
to characterize as "dull" what to me was a com- 
plete collapse of all idealism. 

Among other things Kollontay had then said 


was that I could find a great field for work 
among the women as very little had been at- 
tempted up to that time to enlighten and broaden 
them. We parted in a friendly manner, but I 
did not sense in her the same feeling of warmth 
and depth that I had found in Angelica Bala- 
banova. Now at the open grave of Reed her 
words brought her closer to me. She, too, felt 
deeply, I thought. 

Louise Bryant had fallen in a dead faint and 
was lying face downward on the damp earth. 
After considerable effort we got her to her feet. 
Hysterical, she was taken in the waiting auto to 
her hotel and put to bed. Outside, the sky was 
clothed in gray and was weeping upon the fresh 
grave of Jack Reed. And all of Russia seemed 
a fresh grave. 

While in Moscow we found the explanation of 
the sudden change of tone of the Communist 
press toward Makhno. The Bolsheviki, hard 
pressed by Wrangel, sought * the aid of the 
Ukrainian povstantsi army. A politico-military 
agreement was about to be entered into between 
the Soviet Government and Nestor Makhno. 
The latter was to cooperate fully with the Red 
Army in the campaign against the counter- 
revolutionary enemy. On their side, the Bol- 


sheviki accepted the following conditions of 

(1) The immediate liberation and termination of per- 
secution of all Makhnovtsi and Anarchists, excepting cases 
of armed rebellion against the Soviet Government. 

(2) Fullest liberty of speech, press and propaganda for 
Makhnovtsi and Anarchists, without, however, the right 
of calling for armed uprisings against the Soviet Govern- 
ment, and subject to military censorship. 

(3) Free participation in Soviet elections; the right of 
Makhnovtsi and Anarchists to be candidates, and to hold 
the fifth All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets. 

The agreement also included the right of the 
Anarchists to call a congress in Kharkov, and 
preparations were being made to hold it in the 
month of October. Many Anarchists were get- 
ting ready to attend it and were elated over the 
outlook. But my faith in the Bolshevik! had 
received too many shocks. Not only did I be- 
lieve that the Congress would not take place, 
but I saw in it a Bolshevik ruse to gather all the 
Anarchists in one place in order to destroy them. 
Yet the fact was that several Anarchists, among 
them the well-known writer and lecturer Volin, 
had already been released and were now free in 


We left for Petrograd to deliver to the Museum 
the carload of precious material we had gathered 
in the South. More valuable still was the ex- 
perience the members of the Expedition had been 
enriched with through personal contact with 
people of various shades of opinion, or of no 
opinion, and the impressions of the social pan- 
orama as it was being unrolled day by day. 
That was a treasure of far greater worth than 
any paper documents. But better insight into 
the situation intensified my inner struggle. I 
longed to close my eyes and ears not to see the 
accusing hand which pointed to the blind errors 
and conscious crimes that were stifling the Revo- 
lution. I wanted not to hear the compelling 
voice of facts, which no personal attachments 
could silence any longer. I knew that the 
Revolution and the Bolsheviki, proclaimed as 
one and the same, were opposites, antagonistic 
in aim and purpose. The Revolution had its 
roots deep down in the life of the people. The 
Communist State was based on a scheme forcibly 
applied by a political party. In the contest the 
Revolution was being slain, but the slayer also 
was gasping for breath. I had known in America 
that the Interventionists, the blockade and the 
conspiracy of the Imperialists were wrecking the 


Revolution. But what I had not known then 
was the part the Bolshevik! were playing in the 
process. Now I realized that they were the 

I was oppressively conscious of the great debt 
I owed to the workers of Europe and America: 
I should tell them the truth about Russia. But 
how could I speak out when the country was still 
besieged on several fronts? It would mean 
working into the hands of Poland and WrangeL 
For the first time in my life I refrained from 
exposing grave social evils. I felt as if I were 
betraying the trust of the masses, particularly 
of the American workers, whose faith I dearly 

Arrived in Petrograd, I went to live tempora- 
rily in the Hotel International. I intended to 
find a room somewhere else, determined to accept 
no privileges at the hands of the Government. 
The International was filled with foreign visitors. 
Many had no idea of why or wherefore they had 
come. They had simply flocked to the land they 
believed to be the paradise of the workers. I 
remember my experience with a certain L W. W. 
chap. He had brought to Russia a small supply 
of provisions, needles, thread, and other similar 
necessities. He insisted that I let him share 


with me. "But you will need every bit of it 
yourself/' I told him. Of course, he knew there 
was great scarcity in Russia. But the proleta- 
riat was in control and as a worker he would re- 
ceive everything he needed. Or he would "get 
a piece of land and build a homestead/* He had 
been fifteen years in the Wobbly movement and 
he " didn't mind settling down." What was there 
to say to such an, innocent ? I had not the cour- 
age to disillusion him. I knew he would learn 
soon enough. It was pathetic, though, to see 
such people flood starving Russia. Yet they 
could not do her the harm the other kind was 
doing creatures from the four corners of the 
earth to whom the Revolution represented a gold 
mine. There were many of them in the Inter- 
national. They all came with legends of the 
wonderful growth of Communism in America, 
Ireland, China, Palestine. Such stories were 
balm to the hungry souls of the men in power. 
They welcomed them as an old maid welcomes 
the flattery of her first suitor. They sent these 
impostors back home well provided financially 
and equipped to sing the praises of the Workers* 
and Peasants' Republic. It was both tragic and 
comic to observe the breed all inflated with 
"important conspiratory missions/' 


I received many visitors in my room, among 
them my little neighbour from the Astoria with 
her two children, a Communist from the French 
Section, and several of the foreigners. My neigh- 
bour looked sick and worn since I had seen her 
last in June, 1920. "Are you ill ?" I inquired on 
one occasion. "Not exactly/* she said; "I am 
hungry most of the time and exhausted. The 
summer has been hard: as inspectress of chil- 
dren's homes I have to do much walking. I 
return home completely exhausted. My nine- 
year-old girl goes to a children's colony, but I 
would not risk sendinglny baby boy there be- 
cause of his experience last year, when he was 
so neglected that he nearly died. I had to 
keep him in the city all summer, which made it 
doubly hard for me. Still, it would not have 
been so bad had it not been for the subotniki and 
voskresniki (Communist Saturday and Sunday 
voluntary work-days). They drain my energies 
completely. You know how they began like a 
picnic, with trumpets and singing, marching and 
festivities. We all felt inspired, especially when 
we saw our leading comrades take pick and shovel 
and pitch in. But that is all a matter of the 
past. The subotniki have become gray and spirit- 
less,beneath anobligation imposed without regard 


to inclination, physical fitness, or the amount of 
other work one has to do. Nothing ever succeeds 
in our poor Russia. If I could only get out to 
Sweden, Germany, anywhere, far away from it 
all/' Poor little woman, she was not the only 
one who wanted to forsake the country. It was 
their love for Russia and their bitter disappoint- 
ment which made most people anxious to run 

Several other Communists I knew in Petro- 
grad were even more embittered. Whenever 
they called on me they would repeat their deter- 
mination to get out of the Party. They were 
suffocating they said in the atmosphere of 
Intrigue, blind hatred, and senseless persecu- 
tion. But it requires considerable will power 
to leave the Party which absolutely controls the 
destiny of more than a hundred million people, 
and my Communist visitors lacked the strength. 
But that did not lessen their misery, which af- 
fected even their physical condition, although 
they received the best rations and they had their 
meals at the exclusive Smolny dining room. I 
remember my surprise on first finding that there 
were two separate restaurants in Smolny, one 
where wholesome and sufficient food was served 
to the important members of the Petrograd 


Soviet and of the Third International, while the 
other was for the ordinary employees of the 
Party. At one time there had even been three 
restaurants. Somehow the Kronstadt sailors 
learned of it. They came down in a body and 
closed two of the eating places. " We made the 
Revolution that all should share alike/' they 
said. Only one restaurant functioned for a time 
but later the second was opened. But even in 
the latter the meals were far superior to the So- 
vietsky dining rooms for the "common people/' 
Some of the Communists objected to the dis- 
crimination. They saw the blunders, the in- 
trigues, the destruction of life practised in the 
name of Communism, but they had not the 
strength and courage to protest or to disassociate 
themselves from the Party responsible for the 
injustice and brutality. They would often un- 
burden themselves to me of the matters they 
dared not discuss in their own circles. Thus 
I came to know many things about the inner 
workings of the Party and the Third Interna- 
tional that were carefully hidden from the 
outside world. Among them was the story of 
the alleged Finnish White conspiracy, which re- 
sulted in the killing in Petrograd of seven lead- 
ing Finnish Communists, I had read about it 


in the Soviet papers while I was in the Ukraina. 
I remember my feeling of renewed impatience 
with myself that I should be critical of the Bol- 
shevik regime at a time when counter-revolution- 
ary conspiracies were still so active. But from 
my Communist visitors I learned that the pub- 
lished report was false from beginning to end. 
It was no White conspiracy but a fight between 
two groups of Bolsheviki: the moderate Finnish 
Communists in control of the propaganda car- 
ried on from Petrograd, and the Left Wing work- 
ing in Finland. The Moderates were Zinoviev 
adherents and had been put in charge of the 
work by him. The Lefts had repeatedly com- 
plained to the Third International about the 
conservatism and compromises of their com- 
rades in Petrograd and the harm they were doing 
to the movement in Finland. They asked that 
these men be removed. They were ignored. 
On the 3 ist of August, 1920, the Lefts came to 
Petrograd and proceeded to the headquarters of 
the Moderates. At the session of the latter they 
demanded that the Executive Committee resign 
and turn over all books and accounts to them. 
Their demand refused, the young Finnish Com- 
munists opened fire, killing seven of their com- 
rades. The affair was heralded to the world as 


a counter-revolutionary conspiracy of White 

The third anniversary of the October Revolu- 
tion was celebrated November yth (October 25th 
old style), on the Uritsky Square. I had seen 
so many official demonstrations that they had 
lost interest for me. Still I went to the Square 
hoping that a new note might be sounded. It 
proved a rehash of the thing I had heard over 
and over again. The pageant especially was a 
demonstration of Communist poverty in ideas. 
Kerensky and his cabinet, Tchernov and the 
Constituent Assembly, and the storming of the 
Winter Palace again served as puppets to bring 
out in strong relief the role of the Bolsheviki as 
"saviours of the Revolution/* It was badly 
played and poorly staged, and fell flat. To me 
the celebration was more like the funeral than 
the birth of the Revolution. 

There was much excitement in Petrograd all 
through the month of November. Numerous 
rumours were afloat about strikes, arrests, and 
clashes between workers and soldiery. It was 
difficult to get at the facts. But the extraordi- 
nary session called by the Party in the First 
House of the Soviet indicated a serious situation. 
In the early part of the afternoon the whole 


square in front of the Astoria was lined with 
autos of the influential Communists who had 
been summoned to attend the special conference. 
The following morning we learned that in obedi- 
ence to the Moscow decree the Petrograd session 
had decided to mobilize a number of important 
Bolshevik workers for the factories and shops. 
Three hundred Party members, some of them 
high government officials and others holding 
responsible positions in the Petro-Soviet, were 
immediately ordered to work, to prove to the 
proletariat that Russia was indeed a Workers' 
Government. The plan was expected to allay 
the growing discontent of the proletarians and 
to counteract the influence of the other political 
parties among them. Zorin was one of the 
three hundred. 

However, the toilers would not be deceived by 
this move. They knew that most of the mobil- 
ized men continued to live in the Astoria and 
came to work in their autos. They saw them 
warmly dressed and well shod, while they them- 
selves were almost naked and living in squalid 
quarters without light or heat. The workers 
resented the pretense. The matter became a 
subject of discussion in the shops, and many 
unpleasant scenes followed. One woman, a prom- 


inent Communist, was so tormented in the fac- 
tory that she went into hysterics and had to be 
taken away. Some of the mobilized Bolsheviki, 
among them Zorin and others, were sincere 
enough, but they had grown away from the 
toilers and could not stand the hardships of 
factory life. After a few weeks Zorin collapsed 
and had to be removed to a place of rest. 
Though he was generally liked, his collapse was 
interpreted by the workers as a ruse to get away 
from the misery of the proletarian's existence. 
The breach between the masses and the new 
Bolshevik bureaucracy had grown too wide. It 
could not be bridged. 



ON NOVEMBER 28th the Expedition 
again got under way, this time with three 
members only: Alexander Berkman, the 
Secretary, and myself. We travelled by way of 
Moscow to Archangel, with stops in Vologda and 
Yaroslavl. Vologda liad been the seat of various 
foreign embassies, unofficially engaged in aiding 
the enemies of the Revolution: We expected to 
find historic material there, but we were in- 
formed that most of it had been destroyed or 
otherwise wasted. The Soviet institutions were 
uninteresting: it was a plodding, sleepy provin- 
cial town. In Yaroslavl, where the so-called 
Savinkov uprising had taken place two years 
previously, no significant data were found. 

We continued to Archangel. The stories we had 
heard of the frozen North made us rather appre- 
hensive. But, much to our relief, we found that 
city no colder than Petrograd, and much drier. 

The Chairman of the Archangel Ispolkom was 



a pleasant type of Communist, not at all officious 
or stern. As soon as we had stated our mission 
he set the telephone going. Every time he 
reached some official on the wire he would ad- 
dress him as "dear tovarishtch" and inform him 
that "dear tovarishtchi from the Centre" had 
arrived and must be given every assistance. 
He thought that our stay would be profitable be- 
cause many important documents had remained 
after the Allies had withdrawn. There were 
files of old newspapers published by the Tchai- 
kovsky Government and photographs of the 
brutalities perpetrated upon the Communists by 
the Whites. The Chairman himself had lost his 
whole family, including his twelve-year-old sister. 
As he had to leave the next day to attend the 
Conference of Soviets in Moscow, he promised to 
issue an order giving us access to the archives. 

Leaving the Ispolkom to begin our rounds, we 
were surprised by three sleighs waiting for us, 
thanks to the thoughtfulness of the Chairman. 
Tucked up under fur covers and with bells 
tinkling, each member of the Expedition started 
in a different direction to cover the departments 
assigned to him. The Archangel Soviet officials 
appeared to have great respect for the "Centre 5 "; 
the word acted like magic, opening every door* 


The head of the Department of Education was 
a hospitable and kindly man. After explaining 
to me in detail the work done in his institution 
he called to his office a number of employees, 
informed them of the purpose of the Expedition 
and asked them to prepare the material they 
could gather for the Museum. Among those 
Soviet workers was a nun, a pleasant-faced 
young woman. What a strange thing, I thought, 
to find a nun in a Soviet office! The Chairman 
noticed my surprise. He had quite a number of 
nuns in his department, he said. When the 
monasteries had been nationalized the poor 
women had no place to go. He conceived the 
idea of giving them a chance to do useful work 
in the new world. He had found no cause to 
regret his action: he did not convert the nuns to 
Communism, but they became very faithful and 
industrious workers, and the younger ones had 
even expanded a little. He invited me to visit 
the little art studio where several nuns were 

The studio was a rather unusual place not 
so much because of its artistic value as on ac- 
count of the people who worked there; two old 
nuns who had spent forty and twenty-five years, 
respectively, in monasteries; a young White 


officer, and an elderly workinginan. The last 
two had been arrested as counter-revolutionists 
and were condemned to death, but the Chairman 
rescued them in order to put them to useful work. 
He wanted to give an opportunity to those who 
through ignorance or accident were the enemies 
of the Revolution. A revolutionary period, he 
remarked, necessitated stern measures, even 
violence; but other methods should be tried 
first. He had many in his department who had 
been considered counter-revolutionary, but now 
they were all doing good work. It was the most 
extraordinary thing I had heard from a Com- 
munist. "Aren't you considered a sentimental 
bourgeois? 5 ' I asked. "Yes, indeed/' he replied 
smilingly, "but that is nothing. The main thing 
is that I have been able to prove that my senti- 
mentalism works, as you can see for yourself/' 

The carpenter was the artist of the studiol 
He had never been taught, but he did beautiful 
carving and was a master in every kind of wood 
work. The nuns made colour drawings of flowers 
and vegetables, which were used for demonstra- 
tion by lecturers in the villages. They also 
painted posters, mainly for the children's fes- 

I visited the studio several times alone so that I 


might speak freely to the carpenter and the nuns. 
They had little understanding of the elemental 
facts that had pulled them out of their moorings. 
The carpenter lamented that times were hard 
because he was not permitted to sell his handi- 
work, "I used to earn a good bit of money, 
but now I hardly get enough to eat/* he would 
say. The sisters did not complain; they ac- 
cepted their fate as the will of God. Yet there 
was a change even in them. Instead of being 
shut away in a nunnery they were brought in 
touch with real life, and they had become more 
human. Their expression was less forbidding, 
their work showed signs of kinship with the 
world around them. I noticed it particularly in 
their drawings of children and children's games. 
There was a tenderness about them that spoke 
of the long-suppressed mother instinct struggling 
for expression. The former White officer was 
the most intelligent of the four he had gone 
through Life's crucible. He had learned the 
folly and crime of intervention, he said, and 
would never lend his aid to it again. What 
had convinced him ? The interventionists them- 
selves. They had been in Archangel and they 
carried on as if they owned the city. The Allies 
had promised much, but they had done nothing 


except enrich a few persons who speculated in 
the supplies intended to benefit the population. 
Everyone gradually turned against the inter- 
ventionists. I wondered how many of the 
countless ones shot as counter-revolutionists 
would have been won over to the new regime and 
would now be doing useful work if somebody had 
saved their lives. 

I had seen so many show schools that I decided 
to say nothing about visiting educational insti- 
tutions until some unexpected moment when one 
could take them by surprise. For our first Satur- 
day in Archangel a special performance of 
Leonid Andreyev's play, "Sawa," had been 
arranged. For a provincial theatre, considering 
also the lack of preparation, the drama was fairly 
well done. 

After the performance I told the Chairman of 

the Department, X , that I would like to visit 

his schools early next morning. Without hesita- 
tion he consented and even offered to call for the 
other members of the Expedition. We visited 
several schools and in point of cleanliness, com- 
fort, and general cheerfulness, I found them a 
revelation. It was also beautiful to see the fond 
relationship that existed between the children and 
X . Their joy was spontaneous and frank 


at the sight of him. The moment he appeared 
they would throw themselves upon him, shouting 
with delight; they climbed on him and clung to 
his neck. And he ? Never once did I see such 
a picture in any school in Petrograd or Moscow. 
He threw himself on the floor, the children about 
him, and played and frolicked with them as if 
they were his own. He was one of them; they 
knew it, and they felt at home with him. 

Similar beautiful relationships I found in every 
school and children's home we visited. The 

children were radiant when X appeared. 

They were the first happy children I had seen in 
Russia. It strengthened my conviction of the 
significance of personality and the importance 
of mutual confidence and love between teacher 
and pupil. We visited a number of schools that 
day. Nowhere did I find any discrimination; 
everywhere the children had spacious dormi- 
tories, spotlessly clean rooms and beds, good food 
and clothes. The atmosphere of the schools 
was warm and intimate. 

We found in Archangel many historic docu- 
ments, including the correspondence between 
Tchaikovsky, of the Provisional Government, 
and General Miller, the representative of the 
Allies. It was pathetic to read the pleading, al- 


most cringing words of the old pioneer of the rev- 
olutionary movement in Russia, the founder of 
the Tchaikovsky circles, the man I had known for 
years, by whom I had been inspired. The letters 
exposed the weakness of the Tchaikovsky regime 
and the arbitrary rule of the Allied troops. 
Particularly significant was the farewell message 
of a sailor about to be executed by the Whites. 
He described his arrest and cross-examination 
and the fiendish third degree applied by an 
English army officer at the point of a gun. 
Among the material collected by us were also 
copies of various revolutionary and Anarchist 
publications issued sub rosa. From the Depart- 
ment of Education we received many interesting 
posters and drawings, as well as pamphlets and 
books, and a collection of specimens of the chil- 
dren's work. Among them was a velvet table 
cover painted by the nuns and portraying Arch- 
angel children in gay colours, presented as their 
greeting to the children of America. 

The schools and the splendid man at their 
head were not the only noteworthy features of 
Archangel. The other Soviet institutions also 
proved efficient. There was no sabotage, the 
various bureaus worked in good order, and the 
general spirit was sincere and progressive. 


The food distribution was especially well or- 
ganized. Unlike most other places, there was 
no loss of time or waste of energy connected 
with procuring one's rations. Yet Archangel 
was not particularly well supplied with provi- 
sions. One could not help thinking of the great 
contrast In this regard between that city and 
Moscow. Archangel probably learned a lesson 
in organization from contact with Americans 
the last thing the Allies intended. 

The Archangel visit was so interesting and 
profitable that the Expedition delayed its de- 
parture, and we remained much longer than 
originally planned. * Before leaving, I called on 

X . If anything could be sent him from 

" the Centre/' what would he like most, I asked. 
"Paints and canvas for our little studio/* he 
replied. "See Lunacharsky and get him to send 
us some." Splendid, gracious personality! 

We left Archangel for Murmansk, but we had 
not gone far when we were overtaken by a 
heavy snowstorm. We were informed that we 
could not reach Murmansk In less than a fort- 
night, a journey which under normal conditions 
required three days. There was also danger of 
not being able to return to Petrograd on time, 


the snow often blocking the roads for weeks. 
We therefore decided to turn back to Petrograd. 
When we came within seventy-five versts [about 
fifty miles] of that city we ran into a blizzard: 
It would take days before the track would be 
cleared sufficiently to enable us to proceed. 
Not cheerful news, but fortunately we were sup- 
plied with fuel and enough provisions for some 

It was the end of December, and we celebrated 
Christmas Eve in our car. The night was glo- 
rious, the sky brilliant with stars, the earth clad 
in white. A small pine tree, artfully decorated 
by the Secretary and enthroned in our diner, 
graced the occasion. The glow of the little wax 
candles lent a touch of romance to the scene. 
Gifts for our fellow travellers came all the way 
from America; they had been given us by friends 
in December, 1919, when we were on Ellis Island 
awaiting deportation. A year had passed since 
then, an excruciating year. 

Arriving in Petrograd we found the city agi- 
tated by the heated discussion of the role of the 
trade unions. Conditions in the latter had re- 
sulted in so much discontent among the rank 
and file that the Communist Party was at last 
forced to take up the issue. Already in October 


the trade union question had been brought up 
at the sessions of the Communist Party. The 
discussions continued all through November and 
December, reaching their climax at the Eighth 
All-Russian Congress of the Soviets. All the 
leading Communists participated in the great 
verbal contest which was to decide the fate of 
the labour organizations. The theses discussed 
disclosed four different views. First, that of the 
Lenin-Zinoviev faction, which held that the main 
"function of the trade unions under the prole- 
tarian dictatorship is to serve as schools of Com- 
munism/* Second, the group represented by the 
old Communist Ryasanov, which insisted that the 
trade unions must function as the forum of the 
workers and their economic protector. Trotsky 
led the third faction. He believed that the trade 
unions would in the course of time become the 
managers and controllers of the industries, but for 
the present the unions must be subject to strict 
military discipline and be made entirely sub- 
servient to the needs of the State. The fourth 
and most important tendency was that of the 
Labour Opposition, headed by Madame Kollon- 
tay and Schliapnikov, who expressed the senti- 
ment of the workers themselves and had their 
support. This opposition argued that the gov- 


ernmental attitude toward the trade unions 
had destroyed the interest of the toilers in the 
economic reconstruction of the country and para- 
lysed their productive capacity. They empha- 
sized that the October Revolution had been 
fought to put the proletariat in control of the in- 
dustrial life of the country. They demanded the 
liberation of the masses from the yoke of the 
bureaucratic State and its corrupt officialdom 
and opportunity for the exercise of the creative 
energies of the workers. The Labour Opposition 
voiced the discontent and aspirations of the rank 
and file. 

It was a battle royal, with Trotsky and Zino- 
viev chasing each other over the country in 
separate special trains, to disprove each other's 
contentions. In Petrograd, for instance, Zino* 
viev's influence was so powerful that it required 
a big struggle before Trotsky received permission 
to address the Communist Local on his views in 
the controversy. The latter engendered intense 
feeling and for a time threatened to disrupt the 

At the Congress, Lenin denounced the Labour 
Opposition as "anarcho-syndicalist, middle-class 
ideology" and advocated its entire suppression. 
Schliapnikov, one of the most influential leaders 


of the Opposition, was referred to by Lenin as a 
"peeved Commissar" and was subsequently si- 
lenced by being made a member of the Central 
Committee of the Communist Party. Madame 
Kollontay was told to hold her tongue or get out 
of the Party; her pamphlet setting forth the 
views of the Opposition was suppressed. Some 
of the lesser lights of the Labour Opposition were 
given a vacation in the Tcheka, and even Ryasa- 
nov, an old and tried Communist, was suppressed 
for six months from all union activities. 

Soon after our arrival in Petrograd we were 
' informed by the Secretary of the Museum that 
a new institution known as the Ispart had been 
formed in Moscow to collect material about the 
history of the Communist Party. This organiza- 
tion also proposed to supervise all future expedi- 
tions of the Museum of the Revolution and to 
place them under the direction of a political 
Commissar. It became necessary to go to Mos- 
cow to ascertain the facts in the case. We had 
seen too many evils resulting from the dictator- 
ship of the political Commissar, the ever-present 
espionage and curtailment of independent effort. 
We could not consent to the change which was 
about to be made in the character of our expe- 



WHEN I reached Moscow in January, 
1921, I learned that Peter Kropotkin 
had been stricken with pneumonia. I 
immediately offered to nurse him, but as one 
nurse was already in attendance and the Kro- 
potkin cottage was too small to accommodate 
extra visitors, it was agreed that Sasha Kropot- 
kin, who was then in Moscow, should go to 
Dmitrov to find out whether I was needed. I 
had previously arranged to leave for Petrograd 
the next day. Till the moment of departure I 
waited for a call from the village; none coming, 
I concluded that Kropotkin was improving. 
Two days later, in Petrograd, I was informed by 
Ravitch that Kropotkin had grown worse and 
that I was asked to come to Moscow at once. I 
left immediately, but unfortunately my train 
was ten hours overdue, so that I reached Moscow 
too late to connect with Dmitrov. There were 
at the time no morning trains to the village and 



it was not till the eve of February 7th that I was 
at last seated in a train bound for the place. 
Then the engine went off for fuel and did not 
return until i A. M. of the next day. When I 
finally arrived at the Kropotkin cottage, on 
February 8th, I learned the terrible news that 
Peter had died about an hour before. He had 
repeatedly called for me, but I was not there to 
render the last service to my beloved teacher and 
comrade, one of the world's greatest and noblest 
spirits. It had not been given to me to be near 
him in his last hours. I would at least remain 
until he was carried to his final resting place. 

Two things had particularly impressed me on 
my two previous visits to Kropotkin: his lack of 
bitterness toward the Bolskeviki, and the fact 
that he never once alluded to his own hardships 
and privations. It was only now, while the fam- 
ily was preparing for the funeral, that I learned 
some details of his life under the Bolshevik 
regime. In the early part of 1918 Kropotkin 
had grouped around him some of the ablest 
specialists in political economy. His purpose 
was to make a careful study of the resources of 
Russia, to compile these in monographs and to 
turn them to practical account in the industrial 
reconstruction of the country. Kropotkin was 


the editor-in-chief of the undertaking. One vol- 
ume was prepared, but never published. The 
Federalist League, as this scientific group was 
known, was dissolved by the Government and 
all the material confiscated. 

On two occasions were the Kropotkin apart- 
ments in Moscow requisitioned and the family 
forced to seek other quarters. It was after these 
experiences that the Kropotkins moved to Dmi- 
trov, where old Peter became an involuntary 
exile. Kropotkin, in whose home in the past 
had gathered from every land all that was best 
in thought and ideas, was now forced to lead the 
life of a recluse. His only visitors were peasants 
and workers of the village and some members of 
the intelligentsia, whose wont it was to come 
to him with their troubles and misfortunes. He 
had always kept in touch with the world through 
numerous publications, but in Dmitrov he had 
no access to these sources. His only channels of 
information now were the two government pa- 
pers, Pravda and Izvestia. He was also greatly 
handicapped in his work on the new Ethics 
while he lived in the village. He was mentally 
starved, which to him was greater torture than 
physical malnutrition. It is true that he was 
given a better payck than the average person, 


but even that was insufficient to sustain his 
waning strength. Fortunately he occasionally 
received from various sources assistance in the 
form of provisions. His comrades from abroad, 
as well as the Anarchists of the Ukraina, often 
sent him food packages. Once he received some 
gifts from Makhno, at that time heralded by the 
Bolsheviki as the terror of counter-revolution 
in Southern Russia. Especially did the Kro- 
potkins feel the lack of light. When I visited 
them in 1920 they were considering themselves 
fortunate to be able to have even one room lit. 
Most of the time Kropotkin worked by the 
flicker of a tiny oil lamp that nearly drove him 
blind. During the short hours of the day he 
would transcribe his notes on a typewriter, slowly 
and painfully pounding out every letter. 

However, it was not his own discomfort which 
sapped his strength. It was the thought of the 
Revolution that had failed, the hardships of Rus- 
sia, the persecutions, the endless raztrels, which 
made the last two years of his life a deep tragedy. 
On two occasions he attempted to bring the rulers 
of Russia to their senses : once in protest against 
the suppression of all non-Communist publica- 
tions; the other time against the barbaric prac- 
tice of taking hostages. Ever since the Tcheka 


had begun its activities, the Bolshevik Govern- 
ment had sanctioned the taking of hostages. Old 
and young, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, 
even children, were kept as hostages for the 
alleged offence of one of their kin, of which they 
often knew nothing. Kropotkin regarded such 
methods as inexcusable under any circumstances. 

In the fall of 1920, members of the Social 
Revolutionist Party that had succeeded in get- 
ting abroad threatened retaliation if Communist 
persecution of their comrades continued. The 
Bolshevik Government announced in its official 
press that for every Communist victim it would 
execute ten Social Revolutionists. It was then 
that the famous revolutionist Vera Figner and 
Peter Kropotkin sent their protest to the powers 
that be in Russia. They pointed out that such 
practices were the worst blot on the Russian 
Revolution and an evil that had already brought 
terrible results in its wake: history would never 
forgive such methods. 

The other protest was made in reply to the 
plan of the Government to "liquidate" all pri- 
vate publishing establishments, including even 
those of the cooperatives. The protest was 
addressed to the Presidium of the All-Russian 
Congress of Soviets, then in session. It is in- 


teresting to note that Gorki, himself an official 
of the Commissariat of Education, had sent a 
similar protest. In this statement Kropotkin 
called attention to the danger of such a policy to 
all progress, in fact, to all thought, and empha- 
sized that such State monopoly would make 
creative work utterly impossible. But the pro- 
tests had no effect. Thereafter Kropotkin felt 
that it was useless to appeal to a government 
gone mad with power. 

During the two days I spent in the Kropotkin 
household I learned more of his personal life than 
during all the years that I had known him. 
Even his closest friends were not aware that 
Peter Kropotkin was an artist and a musician of 
much talent. Among his effects I discovered a 
collection of drawings of great merit. He loved 
music passionately and was himself a musician 
of unusual ability. Much of his leisure he spent 
at the piano. 

And now he lay on his couch, in the little work- 
room, as if peacefully asleep, his face as kindly 
in death as it had been in life. Thousands of 
people made pilgrimages to the Kropotkin cot- 
tage to pay homage to this great son of Russia. 
When his remains were carried to the station to 
be taken to Moscow, the whole population of the 


village attended the impressive funeral procession 
to express their last affectionate greeting to the 
man who had lived among them as their friend 
and comrade. 

The friends and comrades of Kropotkin de- 
cided that the Anarchist organizations should 
have exclusive charge of the funeral, and a Peter 
Kropotkin Funeral Commission was formed in 
Moscow, consisting of representatives of the 
various Anarchist groups. The Committee wired 
Lenin, asking him to order the release of all 
Anarchists imprisoned in the capital in order to 
give them the opportunity to participate in the 

Owing to the nationalization of all public con- 
veyances, printing establishments, etc., the 
Anarchist Funeral Commission was compelled 
to ask the Moscow Soviet to enable it to carry 
out successfully the funeral programme. The 
Anarchists being deprived of their own press, 
the Commission had to apply to the authorities 
for the publication of the matter necessary in 
connection with the funeral arrangements. After 
considerable discussion permission was secured 
to print two leaflets and to issue a four-page bul- 
letin in commemoration of Peter Kropotkin. The 
Commission requested that the paper be issued 


without censorship and stated that the reading 
matter would consist of appreciations of our dead 
comrade, exclusive of all polemical questions. 
This request was categorically refused. Having 
no choice, the Commission was forced to submit 
and the manuscripts were sent in for censorship. 
To forestall the possibility of remaining without 
any memorial issue because of the delaying tac- 
tics of the Government, the Funeral Commission 
resolved to open, on its own responsibility, a 
certain Anarchist printing office that had been 
sealed by the Government. The bulletin and 
the two leaflets were printed in that establish- 

In answer to the wire sent to Lenin the Central 
Committee of the All-Russian Executive of the 
Soviets resolved "to propose to the All-Russian 
Extraordinary Commission (Veh-Tcheka) to re- 
lease, according to its judgment, the imprisoned 
Anarchists for participation in the funeral of 
Peter A. Kropotkin." The delegates sent to the 
Tcheka were asked whether the Funeral Com- 
mission would guarantee the return of the pris- 
oners. They replied that the question had not 
been discussed. The Tcheka thereupon refused 
to release the Anarchists. The Funeral Com- 
mission, informed of the new development in the 


situation, immediately guaranteed the return of 
the prisoners after the funeral. Thereupon the 
Tcheka replied that " there are no Anarchists in 
prison who, in the judgment of the Chairman of 
the Extraordinary Commission, could be released 
for the funeral/' 

The remains of the dead lay in state in the 
Hall of Columns in the Moscow Labour Temple. 
On the morning of the funeral the Kropotkin 
Funeral Commission decided to inform the as- 
sembled people of the breach of faith on the part 
of the authorities and demonstratively to with- 
draw from the Temple all the wreaths presented 
by official Communist bodies. Fearing public 
exposure, the representatives of the Moscow 
Soviet definitely promised that all the Anarch- 
ists imprisoned in Moscow would immediately 
be released to attend the funeral. But this 
promise was also broken, only seven of the 
Anarchists being released from the "inner jail" 
of the Extraordinary Commission. None of 
the Anarchists imprisoned in the Butyrki at- 
tended the funeral. The official explanation was 
that the twenty Anarchists incarcerated in that 
prison refused to accept the offer of the author- 
ities. Later I visited the prisoners to ascertain 
the facts in the case. They informed me that a 


representative of the Extraordinary Commission 
insisted on individual attendance, making ex- 
ceptions in some cases. The Anarchists, aware 
that the promise of temporary release was 
collective, demanded that the stipulations be kept. 
The Tcheka representative went to the telephone 
to consult the higher authorities, so he said. 
He did not return. 

The funeral was a most impressive sight. It 
was a unique demonstration never witnessed in 
any other country. Long lines of members of 
Anarchist organizations, labour unions, scientific 
and literary societies and student bodies marched 
for over two hours from the Labour Temple to 
the burial place, seven versts [nearly five miles] 
distant. The procession was headed by students 
and children carrying wreaths presented by 
various organizations. Anarchist banners of 
black and scarlet Socialist emblems floated 
above the multitude. The mile-long procession 
entirely dispensed with the services of the official 
guardians of the peace. Perfect order was kept 
by the multitude itself spontaneously forming in 
several rows, while students and workers organ- 
ized a live chain on both sides of the marchers. 
Passing the Tolstoi Museum the cortege paused, 
and the banners were lowered in honour of the 


memory of another great son of Russia. A 
group of Tolstoians on the steps of the Museum 
rendered Chopin's Funeral March as an expres- 
sion of their love and reverence for Kropotkin. 

The brilliant winter sun was sinking behind 
the horizon when the remains of Kropotkin were 
lowered into the grave, after speakers of many 
political tendencies had paid the last tribute to 
their great teacher and comrade. 



TFN FEBRUARY, 1921, the workers of several 
I Petrograd factories went on strike. The 
winter was an exceptionally hard one, and 
the people of the capital suffered intensely from 
cold, hunger, and exhaustion. They asked an 
increase of their food rations, some fuel and 
clothing. The complaints of the strikers, ignored 
by the authorities, presently assumed a political 
character. Here and there was also voiced a 
demand for the Constituent Assembly and free 
trade. The attempted street demonstration of 
the strikers was suppressed, the Government 
having ordered out the military kursanti. Lisa 
Zorin, who of all the Communists I had met 
remained closest to the people, was present at 
the breaking up of the demonstration. One 
woman became so enraged over the brutality of 
the military that she attacked Lisa. The latter, 
true to her proletarian instincts, saved the 
woman from arrest and accompanied, her home. 



There she found the most appalling conditions. 
In a dark and damp room there lived a worker's 
family with its six children, half-naked in the 
bitter cold. Subsequently Lisa said to me: 
" I felt sick to think that I was in the Astoria/* 
Later she moved out. 

When the Kronstadt sailors learned what was 
happening in Petrograd they expressed their soli- 
darity with the strikers in their economic and 
revolutionary demands, but refused to support 
any call for the Constituent Assembly. On 
March ist, the sailors organized a mass meeting 
in Kronstadt, which was attended also by the 
Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive 
Committee, Kalinin (the presiding officer of the 
Republic of Russia), the Commander of the 
Kronstadt Fortress, Kuzmin, and the Chairman 
of the Kronstadt Soviet, Vassiliev. The meeting, 
held with the knowledge of the Executive Com- 
mittee of the Kronstadt Soviet, passed a resolu- 
tion approved by the sailors, the garrison, and 
the citizens* meeting of 16,000 persons. Kalinin, 
Kuzmin, and Vassiliev spoke against the resolu- 
tion, which later became the basis of the conflict 
between Kronstadt and the Government. It 
voiced the popular demand for Soviets elected 
by the free choice of the people. It is worth 


reproducing that document in full, that the 
reader may be enabled to judge the true charac- 
ter of the Kronstadt demands. The Resolution 

Having heard the Report of the Representatives sent by 
the General Meeting of Ship Crews to Petrograd to investi- 
gate the situation there, Resolved: 

(1) In view of the fact that the present Soviets do not 
express the will of the workers and the peasants, immedi- 
ately to hold new elections by secret ballot, the pre- 
election campaign to have full freedom of agitation among 
the workers and peasants; 

(2) To establish freedom of speech and press for work- 
ers and peasants, for Anarchists and left Socialist parties; 

(3) To secure freedom of assembly for labour unions 
and peasant organizations; 

(4) To call a non-partisan Conference of the workers, 
Red Army soldiers and sailors of Petrograd, Kronstadt, 
and of Petrograd Province, no later than March 10, 1921; 

(5) To liberate all political prisoners of Socialist parties, 
as well as all workers, peasants, soldiers, and sailors im- 
prisoned in connection with the labour and peasant move- 

(6) To elect a Commission to review the cases of those 
held in prisons and concentration camps; 

(7) To abolish all politotdeli 1 because no party should 
be given special privileges in the propagation of its ideas 
or receive the financial support of the Government for 
such purposes. Instead there should be established edu- 
cational and cultural commissions, locally elected and 
financed by the Government. 

Political bureaus. 


(8) To abolish immediately all zagryaditelniye otryadi 1 ; 

(9) To equalize the rations of all who work, with the 
exception of those employed in trades detrimental to 

(10) To abolish the Communist fighting detachments 
in all branches of the Army, as well as the Communist 
guards kept on duty in mills and factories. Should such 
guards or military detachments be found necessary, they 
are to be appointed in the Army from the ranks, and in 
the factories according to the judgment of the workers; 

(n) To give the peasants full freedom of action in re- 
gard to their land, and also the right to keep cattle, on 
condition that the peasants manage with their own means; 
that is, without employing hired labour; 

(12) To request all branches of the Army, as well as our 
comrades the military kursanti, to concur in our resolu- 

(13) To demand that the press give the fullest public- 
ity to our resolutions; 

(14) To appoint a Travelling Commission of Control; 

(15) To permit free kustarnoye* production by one's 
own efforts. 

On March 4th the Petrograd Soviet was to 
meet and it was generally felt that the fate of 
Kronstadt would be decided then. Trotsky 
was to address the gathering, and as I had not 
yet had an opportunity to hear him in Russia, 
I was anxious to attend. My attitude in the 

1 Armed units organized by the Bolsheviki for the purpose of suppressing 
traffic and confiscating foodstuffs. 
^Individual small-scale. 


matter of Kronstadt was still undecided. I 
could not believe that the Bolsheviki would de- 
liberately fabricate the story about General 
Kozlovsky as the leader of the sailors. The 
Soviet meeting, I expected, would clarify the 

Tauride Palace was crowded and a special 
body of kursanti surrounded the platform. The 
atmosphere was very tense. All waited for 
Trotsky. But when at 10 o* clock he had not 
arrived, Zinoviev opened the meeting. Before 
he had spoken fifteen minutes I was convinced 
that he himself did not believe in the story of 
Kozlovsky. "Of course Kozlovsky is old and 
can do nothing," he said, "but the White officers 
are back of him and are misleading the sailors/* 
Yet for days the Soviet papers had heralded 
General Kozlovsky as the moving spirit in the 
"uprising/" Kalinin, whom the sailors had per- 
mitted to leave Kronstadt unmolested, raved 
like a fishmonger. He denounced the sailors as 
counter-revolutionists and called for their im- 
mediate subjugation. Several other Commun- 
ists followed suit. When the meeting was 
opened for discussion, a workingman from the 
Petrograd Arsenal demanded to be heard. He 
spoke with deep emotion and, ignoring the con- 


stant interruptions, he fearlessly declared that 
the workers had been driven to strike because of 
the Government's indifference to their com- 
plaints; the Kronstadt sailors, far from being 
counter-revolutionists, were devoted to the Revo- 
lution. Facing Zinoviev he reminded him that 
the Bolshevik authorities were now acting to- 
ward the workers and sailors just as the Kerensky 
Government had acted toward the BolshevikL 
"Then you were denounced as counter-revolu- 
tionists and German agents," he said; "we, the 
workers and sailors, protected you and helped 
you to power. Now you denounce us and are 
ready to attack us with arms. Remember, you 
are playing with fire/' 

Then a sailor spoke. He referred to the glo- 
rious revolutionary past of Kronstadt, appealed 
to the Communists not to engage in fratricide, 
and read the Kronstadt resolution to prove the 
peaceful attitude of the sailors. But the voice 
of these sons of the people fell on deaf ears. 
The Petro-Soviet, its passions roused by Bolshe- 
vik demagoguery, passed the Zinoviev resolu- 
tion ordering Kronstadt to surrender on pain of 

The Kronstadt sailors were ever the first to 
serve the Revolution. They had played an 


important part in the revolution of 1905; they 
were in the front ranks in 1917. Under Keren- 
sky's regime they proclaimed the Commune of 
Kronstadt and opposed the Constituent Assem- 
bly. They were the advance guard in the Oc- 
tober Revolution. In the great struggle against 
Yudenitch the sailors offered the strongest de- 
fense of Petrograd, and Trotsky praised them 
as the "pride and glory of the Revolution." 
Now, however, they had dared to raise their 
voice in protest against the new rulers of Russia. 
That was high treason from the Bolshevik view- 
point. The Kronstadt sailors were doomed. 

Petrograd was aroused over the decision of the 
Soviet; some of the Communists even, especially 
those of the French Section, were filled with in- 
dignation. But none of them had the courage 
to protest, even in the Party circles, against the 
proposed slaughter. As soon as the Petro- 
Soviet resolution became known, a group of 
well-known literary men of Petrograd gathered 
to confer as to whether something could not be 
done to prevent the planned crime. Someone 
suggested that Gorki be approached to head a 
committee of protest to the Soviet authorities. 
It was hoped that he would emulate the example 
of his illustrious countryman Tolstoi, who in his 


famous letter to the Tsar had raised his voice 
against the terrible slaughter of workers. Now 
also such a voice was needed, and Gorki was 
considered the right man to call on the present 
Tsars to bethink themselves. But most of 
those present at the gathering scouted the idea. 
Gorki was of the Bolsheviki, they said; he would 
not do anything. On several previous occasions 
he had been appealed to, but refused to inter- 
cede. The conference brought no results. Still, 
there were some persons in Petrograd who could 
not remain silent. They sent the following 
letter to the Soviet of Defense: 


To remain silent now is impossible, even criminal. 
Recent events impel us Anarchists to speak out and to de- 
clare our attitude in the present situation. 

The spirit of ferment and dissatisfaction manifest among 
the workers and sailors is the result of causes that demand 
our serious attention. Cold and hunger have produced 
dissatisfaction, and the absence of any opportunity for 
discussion and criticism is forcing the workers and sailors 
to air their grievances in the open. 

White-guardist bands wish and may try to exploit this 
dissatisfaction in their own class interests. Hiding be- 
hind the workers and sailors they throw out slogans of 
the Constituent Assembly, of free trade, and similar de- 

We Anarchists have long since exposed the fiction of 


these slogans, and we declare to the whole world that we 
will fight with arms against any counter-revolutionary 
attempt, in cooperation with all friends of the Social 
Revolution and hand in hand with the Bolsheviki. 
, Concerning the conflict between the Soviet Government 
and the workers and sailors, we hold that it must be 
settled not by force of arms but by means of comradely, 
fraternal revolutionary agreement. Resort to bloodshed 
on the part of the Soviet Government will not in the 
given situation intimidate or quiet the workers. On 
the contrary, it will serve only to aggravate matters and 
will strengthen the hands of the Entente and of internal 

More important still, the use of force by the Workers* 
and Peasants' Government against workers and sailors 
will have a reactionary effect upon the international revo- 
lutionary movement and will everywhere result in incal- 
culable harm to the Social Revolution. 

Comrades Bolsheviki, bethink yourselves before it is too 
late. Do not play with fire : you are about to make a most 
serious and decisive step. 

We hereby submit to you the following proposition: 
Let a Commission be selected to consist of five persons, 
inclusive of two Anarchists. The Commission is to go 
to Kronstadt to settle the dispute by peaceful means, 
In the given situation this is the most radical method. 
It will be of international revolutionary significance. 

March 5, 1921. EMMA GOLDMAN. 


But this protest was ignored. 

On March yth Trotsky began the bombard- 


tnent of Kronstadt, and on the lyth the fortress 
and city were taken, after numerous assaults in- ' 
volving terrific human sacrifice. Thus Kron- 
stadt was " liquidated " and the "counter* 
revolutionary plot" quenched in blood. The 
"conquest" of the city was characterized by 
ruthless savagery, although not a single one of 
the Communists arrested by the Kronstadt sail- 
ors had been injured or killed by them. Even 
before the storming of the fortress the Bolsheviki 
summarily executed numerous soldiers of the 
Red Army whose revolutionary spirit and soli- 
darity caused them to refuse to participate in the 

Several days after the "glorious victory" over 
Kronstadt Lenin said at the Tenth Congress of 
the Communist Party of Russia: "The sailors 
did not want the counter-revolutionists, but they 
did not want us, either." And irony of Bol- 
shevism! at that very Congress Lenin advo* 
cated free trade a more reactionary step than 
any charged to the Kronstadt sailors. 

Between the 1st and the I7th of March several 
regiments of the Petrograd garrison and all the 
sailors of the port were disarmed and ordered 
to the Ukraina and the Caucasus. The Bol- 
sheviki feared to trust them in the Kronstadt 


situation : at the first psychological moment they 
might make common cause with Kronstadt. In 
fact, many Red soldiers of the Krasnaya Gorka 
and the surrounding garrisons were also in 
sympathy with Kronstadt and were forced at 
the point of guns to attack the sailors. 

On March iyth the Communist Government 
completed its "victory" over the Kronstadt pro- 
letariat and on the i8th of March it commemo- 
rated the martyrs of the Paris Commune. It 
was apparent to all who were mute witnesses to 
the outrage committed by the Bolsheviki that 
the crime against Kronstadt was far more enor- 
mous than the slaughter of the Communards in 
1871, for it was done in the name of the Social 
Revolution, in the name of the Socialist Repub- 
lic. History will not be deceived. In the an- 
nals of the Russian Revolution the names of 
Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Dibenko will be added 
to those of Thiers and Gallifet. 

Seventeen dreadful days, more dreadful than 
anything I had known in Russia. Agonizing 
days, because of my utter helplessness in the 
face of the terrible things enacted before my 
eyes. It was just at that time that I happened 
to visit a friend who had been a patient in a 
hospital for months. I found him much dis- 


tressed. Many of those wounded in the attack 
on Kronstadt had been brought to the same 
hospital, mostly kursanti. I had opportunity 
to speak to one of them. His physical suffering, 
he said, was nothing as compared with his mental 
agony. Too late he had realized that he had 
been duped by the cry of " counter-re volution/' 
There were no Tsarist generals in Kronstadt, no 
White Guardists he found only his own com- 
rades, sailors and soldiers who had heroically 
fought for the Revolution. 

The rations of the ordinary patients in the 
hospitals were far from satisfactory, but the 
wounded kursanti received the best of every- 
thing, and a select committee of Communist 
members was assigned to look after their com- 
fort. Some of the kursanti, among them the 
man I had spoken to, refused to accept the 
special privileges. "They want to pay us for 
murder," they said. Fearing that the whole 
institution would be influenced by these awak- 
ened victims, the management ordered them 
removed to a separate ward, the "Communist 
ward/' as the patients called it. 

Kronstadt broke the last thread that held me 
to the Bolsheviki. The wanton slaughter they 
had instigated spoke more eloquently against 


them than aught else. Whatever their pre- 
tences in the past, the Bolsheviki now proved 
themselves the most pernicious enemies of the 
Revolution. I could have nothing further to do 
with them. 



IN A country State-owned and controlled as 
completely as Russia it is almost Impossible 
to live without the " grace " of the Govern- 
ment. However, I was determined to make the 
attempt. I would accept nothing, not even 
bread rations, from the hands stained with the 
blood of the brave Kronstadt sailors. Fortu- 
nately, I had some clothing left me by an Amer- 
ican friend; it could be exchanged for provisions. 
I had also received some money from my own 
people in the United States. That would enable 
me to live for some time, 

In Moscow I procured a small room formerly 
occupied by the daughter of Peter Kropotkku 
From that day on I lived like thousands of other 
Russians, carrying water, chopping wood, wash- 
Ing and cooking, all in my little room. But I 
felt freer and better for it. 

The new economic policy turned Moscow into 
a vast market place. Trade became the new 



religion. Shops and stores sprang up over- 
night, mysteriously stacked with delicacies Rus- 
sia had not seen for years. Large quantities of 
butter, cheese, and meat were displayed for sale; 
pastry, rare fruit, and sweets of every variety 
were to be purchased. In the building of the 
First House of the Soviet one of the biggest 
pastry shops had been opened. Men, women, 
and children with pinched faces and hungry eyes 
stood about gazing into the windows and discuss- 
ing the great miracle: what was but yesterday 
considered a heinous offence was now flaunted 
before them in an open and legal manner. I 
overheard a Red soldier say: "Is this what we 
made the Revolution for? For this our com- 
rades had to die?" The slogan, "Rob the 
robbers/' was now turned into "Respect the 
robbers/* and again was proclaimed the sanctity 
of private property. 

Russia was thus gradually resurrecting the 
social conditions that the great Revolution had 
come to destroy. But the return to capitalism 
in no way changed the Bolshevik attitude toward 
the Left elements. Bourgeois ideas and practices 
were to be encouraged to develop the industrial 
life of Russia, but revolutionary tendencies were 
to be suppressed as before. 



In connection with Kronstadt a general raid 
on Anarchists took place in Petrograd and Mos- 
cow. The prisons were filled with these victims. 
Almost every known Anarchist had been arrested, 
and the Anarchist book stores and printing 
offices of "Golos Truda" in both cities were 
sealed by the Tcheka. The Ukrainian Anarch- 
ists who had been arrested on the eve of the 
Kharkov Conference (though guaranteed im- 
munity by the Bolsheviki under the Makhno 
agreement) were brought to Moscow and placed 
in the Butyrki; that Romanov dungeon was again 
serving its old purpose even holding some of the 
revolutionists incarcerated there before. Pres- 
ently it became known that the politicals in the 
Butyrki had been brutally assaulted by the 
Tcheka and secretly deported to unknown parts. 
Moscow was much agitated by this resurrection 
of the worst prison methods of Tsarism. Inter- 
pellation on the subject was made in the Moscow 
Soviet, the indignation of the deputies being so 
great that the Tcheka representative was shouted 
off the platform. Several Moscow Anarchist 
groups sent a vigorous protest to the authorities, 
which document I quote in part: 

The undersigned Anarcho-syndicalist organizations, 
after having carefully considered the situation that has 


developed lately in connection with the persecution of 
Anarchists in Moscow, Petrograd, Kharkov, and other 
cities of Russia and the Ukraina, including the forcible 
suppression of Anarchist organizations, clubs, publications, 
etc., hereby express their decisive and energetic protest 
against this despotic crushing of not only every agitational 
and propagandistic activity, but even of all purely cultural 
work by Anarchist organizations. 

The systematic man-hunt of Anarchists in general, and 
of Anarcho-syndicalists in particular, with the result that 
every prison and jail in Soviet Russia is filled with our 
comrades, fully coincided in time and spirit with Lenin's 
speech at the Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist 
Party. On that occasion Lenin announced that the most 
merciless war must be declared against what he termed 
" petty bourgeois Anarchist elements" which, according 
to him, are developing even within the Communist Party 
itself owing to the " anarcho-syndicalist tendencies of the 
Labour Opposition." On that very day that Lenin made 
the above statements numbers of Anarchists were arrested 
all over the country, without the least cause or explanation, 
No charges have been preferred against any one of the 
imprisoned comrades, though some of them have already 
been condemned to long terms without hearing or trial, 
and in their absence. The conditions of their imprison- 
ment are exceptionally vile and brutal. Thus one of the 
arrested, Comrade Maximov, after numerous vain pro- 
tests against the incredibly unhygienic conditions in which 
he was forced to exist, was driven to the only means of 
protest left him a hunger strike. Another comrade, 
Yarchuk, released after an imprisonment of six days, was 
soon rearrested without any charges being preferred against 
him on either occasion. 

According to reliable information received by us, some 


of the arrested Anarchists are being sent to the prisons of 
Samara, far away from home and friends, and thus de- 
prived of what little comradely assistance they might 
have been able to receive nearer home. A number of 
other comrades have been forced by the terrible conditions 
of their imprisonment to declare a hunger strike. One of 
them, after hungering twelve days, became dangerously ill. 

Even physical violence is practised upon our comrades 
in prison. The statement of the Anarchists in the Butyrki 
prison in Moscow, signed by thirty-eight comrades, and 
sent to the Executive Committee of the All-Russian 
Extraordinary Commission on March i6th, contains, 1 
among other things, the following statement: "On March 
I5th Comrade T. Kashirin was brutally attacked and 
beaten in the prison of the Special Department of the 
Extraordinary Commission by your agent Mago and as- 
sistants, in the presence of the prison warden Dookiss." 

Besides the wholesale arrests of and the physical violence 
toward our comrades, the Government is waging systema- 
tic war against our educational work. It has closed a 
number of our clubs, as well as the Moscow office of the 
publishing establishment of the Anarcho-syndicalist or- 
ganization Golos Truda. A similar man-hunt took place 
in Petrograd on March isth. Numbers of Anarchists 
were arrested, without cause, the printing house of Golos 
Truda was closed, and its workers imprisoned. No 
charges have been preferred against the arrested comrades, 
all of whom are still in prison. 

These unbearably autocratic tactics of the Government 
towards the Anarchists are unquestionably the result of the 
general policy of the Bolshevik State in the exclusive con- 
trol of the Communist Party in regard to Anarchism, 
Syndicalism, and their adherents. 

This state of affairs is forcing us to raise our voices in 


loud protest against the panicky and brutal suppression of 
the Anarchist movement by the Bolshevik Government. 
Here in Russia our voice is weak. It is stifled. The 
policy of the ruling Communist Party is designed to de- 
stroy absolutely every possibility or effort of Anarchist 
activity or propaganda. The Anarchists of Russia are 
thus forced into the condition of a complete moral hunger 
strike, for the Government is depriving us of the possibility 
to carry out even those plans and projects which it itself 
only recently promised to aid. 

Realizing more clearly than ever before the truth of our 
Anarchist ideal and the imperative need of its application 
to life we are convinced that the revolutionary proletariat 
of the world is with us. 

After the February Revolution Russian 
Anarchists returned from every land to Russia 
to devote themselves to revolutionary activity. 
The Bolsheviki had adopted the Anarchist slo- 
gan, "The factories to the workers, the land to 
the peasants/' and thereby won the sympathies 
of the Anarchists. The latter saw in the Bol- 
sheviki the spokesmen of social and economic 
emancipation, and joined forces with them. 

Through the October period the Anarchists 
worked hand in hand with the Communists and 
fought with them side by side in the defense of 
the Revolution. Then came the Brest-Litovsk 
Treaty, which many Anarchists considered a 


betrayal of the Revolution. It was the first 
warning for them that all was not well with the 
Bolsheviki. But Russia was still exposed to 
foreign intervention, and the Anarchists felt that 
they must continue together to fight the common 

In April, 1918, came another blow. By order of 
Trotsky the Anarchist headquarters in Moscow 
were attacked with artillery, some Anarchists 
wounded, a large number arrested, and all 
Anarchist activities "liquidated/* This entirely 
unexpected outrage served further to alienate the 
Anarchists from the ruling Party. Still the 
majority of them remained with the Bolsheviki: 
they felt that, in spite of internal persecution, 
to turn against the existing regime was to work 
into the hands of the counter-revolutionary 
forces. The Anarchists participated in every 
social, educational, and economic effort; they 
worked even in the military departments to aid 
Russia. In the Red Guards, in the volunteer 
regiments, and later in the Red Army; as or- 
ganizers and managers of factories and shops; 
as chiefs of the fuel bureaus; as teachers 
everywhere the Anarchists held difficult and 
responsible positions. Out of their ranks came 
some of the ablest men who worked in the foreign 


office with Tchicherin and Kharakan, In the 
various press bureaus, as Bolshevik diplomatic 
representatives in Turkestan, Bokhara, and the 
Far Eastern Republic. Throughout Russia the 
Anarchists worked with and for the Bolsheviki 
in the belief th,at they were advancing the cause 
of the Revolution. But the devotion and zeal 
of the Anarchists in no way deterred the Com- 
munists from relentlessly persecuting the Anar- 
chist movement. 

The peculiar general situation and the con- 
fusion of ideas created in all revolutionary circles 
by the Bolshevik experiment divided the Anarch- 
ist forces in Russia into several factions, thereby 
weakening their effect upon the course of the 
Revolution. There were a number of groups, 
each striving separately and striving vainly 
against the formidable machine which they 
themselves had helped to create. In the dense 
political fog many lost their sense of direction: 
they could not distinguish between the Bolshe- 
viki and the Revolution. In desperation some 
Anarchists were driven to underground activi- 
ties, even as they had been during the regime of 
the Tsars. But such work was more difficult 
and perilous under the new rulers and it also 
opened the door to the sinister machinations of 


provocators. The more mature Anarchist or- 
ganizations, such as the Nabat, in the Ukraina, 
Golos Truda in Petrograd and Moscow, and the 
Foylni Trud group the last two of Anarcho- 
syndicalist tendency continued their work 
openly, as best they could. 

Unfortunately ? as was unavoidable under the 
circumstances, some evil spirits had found entry 
into the Anarchist ranks debris washed ashore 
by the Revolutionary tide. They were types to 
whom the Revolution meant only destruction, 
occasionally even for personal advantage. They 
engaged in shady pursuits and, when arrested 
and their lives threatened, they often turned 
traitors and joined the Tcheka. Particularly in 
Kharkov and Odessa thrived this poisonous 
weed. The Anarchists at large were the first to 
take a stand against this element. The Bolshe- 
viki, always anxious to secure the services of the 
jAnarchist derelicts, systematically perverted the 
facts. They maligned, persecuted, and hounded 
the Anarchist movement as such. It was this 
Communist treachery and despotism which re- 
sulted in a bomb's being thrown during the session 
of the Moscow Section of the Communist Party 
in September, 1919. It was an act of protest, 
members of the various political tendencies 


cooperating in it. The Anarchist organizations 
Golos Truda and Foylm Trud in Moscow pub- 
licly expressed their condemnation of such meth- 
ods, but the Government replied with reprisals 
against all Anarchists. Yet, in spite of their 
bitter experiences and martyrdom under the Bol- 
shevik regime, most of the Anarchists clung tena- 
ciously to the hand that smote them. It needed 
the outrage upon Kronstadt to rouse them from 
the hypnotic spell of the Bolshevik superstition. 
Power is corrupting, and Anarchists are no 
exception. It must in truth be admitted that a 
certain Anarchist element became demoralized 
by it; by far the largest majority retained their 
integrity. Neither Bolshevik persecution nor 
oft-attempted bribery of good position with all 
its special privileges succeeded in alienating the 
great bulk of Anarchists from their ideals. As a 
result they were constantly harassed and in- 
carcerated. Their existence in the prisons was 
a continuous torture: in most of them still ob- 
tained the old regime and only the collective 
struggle of the politicals occasionally succeeded 
in compelling reforms and improvements. Thus 
it required repeated "obstructions*' and hunger 
strikes in the Butyrki before the authorities 
were forced to make concessions. The politicals 


succeeded in establishing a sort of university, 
organized lectures, and received visits and food 
parcels. But the Tcheka frowned upon such 
"liberties/ 5 Suddenly, without warning, an end 
was put to decent treatment; the Butyrki was 
raided and the prisoners, numbering more than 
400, and belonging to various revolutionary 
wings, were forcibly taken from their cells and 
transferred to other penal institutions. A mes- 
sage received at the time from one of the victims, 
dated April 2yth, reads : 

Concentration Camp, Ryazan. 

On the night of April 25th we were attacked by Red 
soldiers and armed Tchekists and ordered to dress and get 
ready to leave the Butyrki. Some of the politicals, fear- 
ing that they were to be taken to execution, refused to go 
and were terribly beaten. The women especially were 
maltreated, some of them being dragged down the stairs 
by their hair. Many have suffered serious injury. I 
myself was so badly beaten that my whole body feels like 
one big sore. We were taken out by force in our night- 
clothes and thrown into wagons. The comrades in our 
group knew nothing of the whereabouts of the rest of the 
politicals, including Mensheviks, Social Revolutionists, 
Anarchists, and Anarcho-syndicalists. 

Ten of us, among them Fanya Baron, have been brought 
here. Conditions in this prison are unbearable. No exer- 
cise, no fresh air; food is scarce and filthy; everywhere 
awful dirt, bedbugs, and lice. We mean to declare a 
hunger strike for better treatment. We have just been 


told to get ready with our things. They are going to send 
us away again. We do not know where to. 

[Signed] X* 

Upon the circumstances of the Butyrki raid 
becoming known the students of the Moscow 
University held a protest meeting and passed 
resolutions condemnatory of the outrage. There- 
upon the student leaders were arrested and the 
University closed. The non-resident students 
were ordered to leave Moscow within three days 
on the pretext of lack of rations. The students 
volunteered to give up their payok, but the 
Government insisted on their quitting the 
capital. Later, when the University was re- 
opened, Preobrazhensky, the Dean, admonished 
the students to refrain from any political ex- 
pressions on pain of being expelled from the 
University. Some of the arrested students were 
exiled, among them several girl students, for the 
sole crime of being members of a circle whose aim 
was to study the works of Kropotkin and other 
Anarchist authors. The methods of the Tsar 
were resurrected by his heirs to the throne in Bol- 
shevik Russia. 

* # * 

After the death of Peter Kropotkin his friends 
and comrades decided to found a Kropotkin 


Museum in commemoration of the great Anarch- 
ist teacher and in furtherance of his ideas and 
ideals. I removed to Moscow to aid In the 
organization of the proposed memorial, but be- 
fore long the Museum Committee concluded that 
for the time being the project could not be real- 
ized. Everything being under State monopoly, 
nothing could be done without application to the 
authorities. To accept Government aid would 
have been a deliberate betrayal of the spirit of 
Kropotkin who throughout his life consistently 
refused State assistance* Once when Kropotkin 
was ill and in need, the Bolshevik Government 
offered him a large sum for the right to publish 
his works. Kropotkin refused. He was com- 
pelled to accept rations and medical assistance 
when sick, but he would neither consent to his 
works being published by the State nor accept 
any other aid from it. The Kropotkin Museum 
Committee took the same attitude. It accepted 
from the Moscow Soviet the house Kropotkin 
had been bora in, and which was to be turned 
into a Kropotkin Museum; but it would ask the 
Government for nothing more. The house at the 
time was occupied by a military organization; it 
would require months to get it vacated and then 
no means would be at hand to have it renovated* 


Some of the Committee members felt that a 
Kropotkin Museum was out of place in Bolshe- 
vik Russia as long as despotism was rampant 
and the prisons filled with political dissenters. 

While I was in Petrograd on a short visit, the 
Moscow apartment in which I had a room was 
raided by the Tcheka. I learned that the cus- 
tomary trap had been set and everyone arrested 
who called at the place during the zassada. I 
visited Ravitch to protest against such proceed- 
ings, telling her that if the object was to take me 
into custody I was prepared for it. Ravitch had 
heard nothing of the matter, but promised to 
get in touch with Moscow. A few days later I 
was informed that the Tchekists had been with- 
drawn from the apartment and that the arrested 
friends were about to be released. When I re- 
turned to my room some time later most of 
them had been freed. At the same time a num- 
ber of Anarchists were arrested in various parts 
of the capital and no news of their fate or of the 
cause of their arrest could be learned. Several 
weeks later, on August 3Oth, the Moscow Iwestia 
published the official report of the Veh-Tcheka 
concerning "Anarchist banditism," announcing 
that ten Anarchists had been shot as "bandits'* 
without hearing or trial. 


It had become the established policy of the 
Bolshevik Government to mask its barbaric pro- 
cedure against Anarchists with the uniform 
charge of banditism. This accusation was made 
practically against all arrested Anarchists and 
frequently even against sympathizers with the 
movement. A very convenient method of get- 
ting rid of an undesirable person: by it any one 
could be secretly executed and buried. 

Among the ten victims were two of the best 
known Russian Anarchists, whose idealism and 
life-long devotion to the cause of humanity had 
stood the test of Tsarist dungeons and exile, and 
persecution and suffering in other countries. 
They were Fanya Baron, who several months 
before had escaped from the Ryazan prison, and 
Lev Tcherny who had spent many years of his 
life in katorga and exile, under the old regime. 
The Bolsheviki did not have the courage to say 
that they had shot Lev Tcherny; in the list of 
the executed he appeared as "Turchaninoff," 
which though his real name was unfamiliar 
to some even of his closest friends. Tcherny 
was known throughout Russia as a gifted poet 
and writer. In 1907 he had published an original 
work on "Associational Anarchism/ 5 and since 
his return from Siberia in 1917 he had enjoyed 


wide popularity among the workers of Moscow 
as a lecturer and founder of the " Federation of 
Brain Workers." He was a man of great gifts, 
tender and sympathetic in all his relationships. 
No person could be further from banditism. 

The mother of Tcherny had repeatedly called 
at the Ossoby Otdel (Special Department of the 
Tcheka) to learn the fate of her son. Every 
time she was told to come next day; she would 
then be permitted to see him. As established 
later, Tcherny had already been shot when these 
promises were being made. After his death the 
authorities refused to turn his body over to his 
relatives or friends for burial. There were per- 
sistent rumours that the Tcheka had not in- 
tended to execute Tcherny, but that he died 
under torture. 

Fanya Baron was of the type of Russian 
woman completely consecrated to the cause of 
humanity. While in America she gave all her 
spare time and a goodly part of her meagre 
earnings in a factory to further Anarchist 
propaganda. Years afterward, when I met her 
in Kharkov, her zeal and devotion had become 
intensified by the persecution she and her com- 
rades had endured since their return to Russia. 
She possessed unbounded courage and a generous 


spirit. She could perform the most difficult task 
and deprive herself of the last piece of bread 
with grace and utter selflessness. Under har- 
rowing conditions of travel, Fanya went up and 
down the Ukraina to spread the Nabat, organize 
the workers and peasants, or bring help and 
succour to her imprisoned comrades. She was 
one of the victims of the Butyrki raid, when she 
had been dragged by her hair and badly beaten. 
After her escape from the Ryazan prison she 
tramped on foot to Moscow, where she arrived in 
tatters and penniless. It was her desperate 
condition which drove her to seek shelter with 
her husband's brother, at whose house she was 
discovered by the Tcheka. This big-hearted 
woman, who had served the Social Revolution all 
her life, was done to death by the people who 
pretended to be the advance guard of revolution. 
Not content with the crime of killing Fanya 
Baron, the Soviet Government put the stigma 
of banditism on the memory of their dead victim- 



GREAT preparations were being made by 
the Communists for the Third Congress 
of the Third International and the First 
Congress of the Red Trade Union International. 
A preliminary committee had been organized in 
the summer of 1920, while delegates from various 
countries were in Moscow. How much the 
Bolsheviki depended upon the First Congress of 
the Red Trade Union International was apparent 
from a remark of an old Communist. "We 
haven't the workers in the Third International/' 
he said; " unless we succeed in welding together 
the proletariat of the world into the R. T. U. L, 
the Third International cannot last very long/' 

The Hotel de Luxe, renovated the previous 
year, became the foreign guest house of the Third 
International and was put in festive attire. The 
delegates began to arrive in Moscow. 

During my stay in Russia I came across three 
classes of visitors who came to "study the 



Revolution/' The first category consisted of 
earnest idealists to whom the Bolsheviki were the 
symbol of the Revolution. Among them were 
many emigrants from America who had given 
up everything they possessed to return to the 
promised land. Most of these became bitterly 
disappointed after the first few months and 
sought to get out of Russia. Others, who did 
not come as Communists, joined the Communist 
Party for selfish reasons and did in Rome as the 
Romans do. There were also the Anarchist 
deportees who came not of their own choice. 
Most of them strained every effort to leave 
Russia after they realized the stupendous de- 
ception that had been imposed on the world. 

In the second class were journalists, news- 
papermen, and some adventurers. They spent 
from two weeks to two months in Russia, usually 
in Petrograd or Moscow, as the guests of the 
Government and in charge of Bolshevik guides. 
Hardly any of them knew the language and they 
never got further than the surface of things. 
Yet many of them have presumed to write and 
lecture authoritatively about the Russian situa- 
tion. I remember my astonishment when I read 
in a certain London daily that the teachings of 
Jesus were "being realized in Russia/* A pre- 


posterous falsehood of which none but a charla- 
tan could be guilty. Other writers were not 
much nearer the truth. If they were at all criti- 
cal of the Bolsheviki they were so at the expense 
of the whole Russian people, whom they charged 
with being "crude, primitive savages, too illit- 
erate to grasp the meaning of the Revolution/' 
According to these writers it was the Russian 
people who imposed upon the Bolsheviki their 
despotic and cruel methods. It did not occur 
to those so-called investigators that the Revolu- 
tion was made by those primitive and illiterate 
people, and not by the present rulers in the 
Kremlin. Surely they must have possessed 
some quality which enabled them to rise to 
revolutionary heights a quality which, if prop- 
erly directed, would have prevented the wreck 
and ruin of Russia. But that quality has per- 
sistently been overlooked by Bolshevik apologists 
who sacrifice all truth in their determination to 
find extenuating circumstances for the mess made 
by the Bolsheviki. A few wrote with under- 
standing of the complex problems and with 
sympathy for the Russian people. But their 
voice was ineffectual in the popular craze that 
Bolshevism had become. 
The third category the majority of the vis- 



itors, delegates, and members of various com* 
missions infested Russia to become the agents 
of the ruling Party. These people had every 
opportunity to see things as they were, to get 
close to the Russian people, and to learn from 
them the whole terrible truth. But they pre- 
ferred to side with the Government, to listen to 
its interpretation of causes and effects. Then 
they went forth to misrepresent and to lie delib- 
erately in behalf of the Bolsheviki, as the En- 
tente agents had lied and misrepresented the 
Russian Revolution. 

Nor did the sincere Communists realize the 
disgrace of the situation not even Angelica 
Balabanova. Yet she had good judgment of 
character and knew how to appraise the people 
who flocked to Russia. Her experience with 
Mrs. Clare Sheridan was characteristic. The 
lady had been smuggled into Russia before Mos- 
cow realized that she was the cousin of Winston 
Churchill She was obsessed by the desire "to 
sculp" prominent Communists. She had also 
begged Angelica to sit for her. " Lenin, Trotsky, 
and other leaders are going to; aren't you?" she 
pleaded. Angelica, who hated sensationalism 
in any form, resented the presence in Russia of 
these superficial visitors. "I asked her," she 


afterward related, "if she would have thought of 
* sculping* Lenin three years ago when the 
English Government denounced him as a Ger- 
man spy. Lenin did not make the Revolution. 
The Russian people made it. I told this Mrs. 
Sheridan that she would do better to "sculp* 
Russian workingmen and women who were the 
real heroes of the Revolution. I know she did 
not like what I said. But I don't care. I can't 
stand people to whom the Russian struggle is 
mere copy for poor imitations or cheap display/* 
Now the new delegates were beginning to 
arrive. They were royally welcomed and feted. 
They were taken to show schools, children's 
homes, colonies, and model factories. It was the 
traditional Potemkin villages 1 that were shown 
the visitors. They were graciously received and 
"talked to" by Lenin and Trotsky, treated to 
theatres, concerts, ballets, excursions, and mili- 
tary parades. In short, nothing was left undone 
to put the delegates into a frame of mind favour- 
able to the great plan that was to be revealed to 
them at the Red Trade Union and the Third 
International Congresses. There were also con- 

1 Happy > villagers and their model homes, specially prepared and shown 
to Catherine the Great by her Prime Minister Potemkin to deceive her 
about the true condition of the peasantry. 


tinuous private conferences where the delegates 
were subjected to a regular third degree, Lozov- 
sky prominent Bolshevik labour leader and 
his retinue seeking to ascertain their attitude to 
the Third International, the dictatorship of the 
proletariat, and similar subjects. Here and 
there was a delegate who refused to divulge the 
instructions of his organization on the ground 
that he was pledged to report only to the Con- 
gress. But such naive people reckoned without 
their host. They soon found themselves ostra- 
cized and at the Congress they were given no 
opportunity to make themselves heard effec- 

The majority of the delegates were more 
pliable. They learned quickly that pledges and 
responsibilities were considered bourgeois super- 
stitions. To show their ultra-radicalism they 
quickly divested themselves of them. They be- 
came the echoes of Zinoviev, Lozovsky, and 
other leaders. 

The American delegates to the Red Trade 
Union International were most conspicuous by 
their lack of personality. They accepted with- 
out question every proposition and suggestion of 
the Chair. The most flagrant intrigues and 
political machinations and brazen suppression of 


those who would not be cajoled or bullied into 
blind adherence found ready support by the 
American Communist crew and the aides they 
had brought with them. 

The Bolsheviki know how to set the stage to 
produce an impression. In the staging of the 
two Congresses held in July, 1921, they outdid 
themselves. The background for the Congress 
of the Third International was the Kremlin. 
In the royal halls where once the all-powerful 
Romanovs had sat, the awed delegates hung 
with bated breath upon every word uttered by 
their pope, Lenin, and the other Grand Seigneurs 
of the Communist Church. On the eve of the 
Congress a great meeting was held in the big 
theatre to which only those whose passports had 
been approved by the All-Russian Tcheka were 
admitted. The streets leading to the theatre 
were turned into a veritable military camp. 
Tchekists and soldiers on foot and on horseback 
created the proper atmosphere for the Commun- 
ist conclave. At the meeting resolutions were 
passed extending fraternal greetings to "the 
revolutionists in capitalist prisons/' At that 
very moment every Russian prison was filled 
with revolutionists but no greetings were sent 
to them. So all-pervading was Moscow hypno- 


tism that not a single voice was raised to point 
out the farce of Bolshevik sympathy for political 

The Red Trade Union Congress was set on a 
less pretentious scale in the House of the Trade 
Unions. But no details were overlooked to get 
the proper effects. "Delegates" from Palestine 
and Korea men who had not been out of Russia 
for years delegates from the great industrial 
centres of Bokhara, Turkestan, and Adzerbeyd- 
zhan, packed the Congress to swell the Com- 
munist vote and help carry every Communist 
proposition. They were there to teach the work- 
ers of Europe and America how to reconstruct 
their respective countries and to establish Com- 
munism after the world revolution. 

The plan perfected by Moscow during the 
year 1920-21, and which was a complete reversal 
of Communist principles and tactics, was very 
skilfully and subtly unrolled by slow degrees 
before the credulous delegates. The Red 
Trade Union International was to embrace all 
revolutionary and syndicalist organizations of 
the world, with Moscow as its Mecca and the 
Third International as its Prophet. All minor 
revolutionary labour organizations were to be 
dissolved and Communist units formed instead 


within the existing conservative trade union 
bodies. The very people who a year ago had 
issued the famous Bull of twenty-one points, they 
who had excommunicated every heretic unwilling 
to submit to the orders of the Holy See the 
Third International and who had applied every 
invective to labour in the 2nd and the 2| In- 
ternationals, were now making overtures to 
the most reactionary labour organizations and 
"resoluting" against the best efforts of the rev- 
olutionary pioneers in the Trade Union move- 
ment of every country. 

Here again the American delegates proved 
themselves worthy of their hire. Most of them 
had sprung from the Industrial Workers of the 
World; had indeed arisen to "fame and glory'* 
on the shoulders of that militant American la- 
bour body. Some of the delegates had valiantly 
escaped to safety, unselfishly preferring the 
Hotel de Luxe to Leavenworth Penitentiary, 
leaving their comrades behind in American pris- 
ons and their friends to refund the bonds they 
had heroically forfeited. While Industrial Work- 
ers continued to suffer persecution in capitalistic 
America, the renegade I. W. W/s living in 
comfort and safety in Moscow maligned and 
attacked their former comrades and schemed to 


destroy their organization. Together with the 
Bolsheviki they were going to carry out the job 
begun by the American Vigilantes and the Ku 
Klux Klan to exterminate the I. W. W. Les 
extremes ce touchent. 

While the Communists were passing eloquent 
resolutions of protest against the imprisonment 
of revolutionaries in foreign countries, the 
Anarchists in the Bolshevik prisons of Russia 
were being driven to desperation by their long 
imprisonment without opportunity for a hear- 
ing or trial. To force the hand of the Gov- 
ernment the Anarchists incarcerated in the 
Taganka (Moscow) decided on a hunger strike to 
the death. The French, Spanish, and Italian 
Anarcho-syndicalists, when informed of the 
situation, promised to raise the question at an 
early session of the Labour Congress. Some, 
however, suggested that the Government be 
first approached on the matter. Thereupon a 
Delegate Committee was chosen, including the 
well-known English labour leader, Tom Mann, 
to call upon the Little Father in the Kremlin. 
The Committee visited Lenin. The latter re- 
fused to have the Anarchists released on the 
ground that "they were too dangerous/' but the 
final result of the interview was a promise that 


they would be permitted to leave Russia; should 
they, however, return without permission, they 
would be shot. The next day Lenin's promise 
was substantiated by a letter of the Central 
Committee of the Communist Party, signed by 
Trotsky, reiterating what Lenin had said. Nat- 
urally the threat of shooting was omitted in the 
official letter. 

The hunger strikers in the Taganka accepted 
the conditions of deportation. They had for 
years fought and bled for the Revolution and 
now they were compelled to become Ahasueruses 
in foreign lands or suffer slow mental and 
physical death in Bolshevik dungeons. The 
Moscow Anarchist groups chose Alexander Berk- 
man and A. Shapiro as their representatives on 
the Delegates' Committee to arrange with the 
Government the conditions of the release and 
deportation of the imprisoned Anarchists. 

In view of this settlement of the matter the 
intention of a public protest at the Congress was 
abandoned by the delegates. Great was their 
amazement when, just before the close of the 
Congress, Bukharin in the name of the Central 
Committee of the Communist Party launched 
into a scurrilous attack on the Anarchists. 
Some of the foreign delegates, outraged by the 


dishonourable proceeding, demanded an oppor- 
tunity to reply- That demand was finally 
granted to a representative of the French delega- 
tion after Chairman Lozovsky had exhausted 
every demagogic trick in a vain attempt to si- 
lence the dissenters. 

At no time during the protracted negotiations 
on behalf of the imprisoned Anarchists and the 
last disgraceful proceedings at the Red Trade 
Union Congress did the American Communist 
delegates make a protest. Loudly they had 
shouted for political amnesty in America, but 
not a word had they to say in favour of the 
liberation of the politicals in Russia. One of the 
group, approached on behalf of the hunger 
strikers, exclaimed: "What are a few lives or 
even a few hundred of them as against the 
Revolution V 9 To such Communist minds the 
Revolution had no bearing on justice and hu- 

In the face of abject want, with men, women, 
and children hungrily watching the white 
bread baked for the Luxe Hotel in its adjoining 
bakery, one of the American fraternal delegates 
wrote to a publication at home that "the workers 
In Russia control the industries and are directing 
the affairs of the country; they get everything 


free and need no money." This noble delegate 
lived in the palatial home of the former Sugar 
King of Russia and enjoyed also the hospitality 
of the Luxe. He indeed needed no money. 
But he knew that the workers lacked even the 
basic necessities and that without money they 
were as helpless in Russia as in any other coun- 
try, the week's payok not being sufficient for two 
days' existence. Another delegate published 
glowing accounts dwelling on the absence of 
prostitution and crime in Moscow- At the 
same time the Tcheka was daily executing hold- 
up-rnen, and on the Tverskaya and the Pushkin 
Boulevard, near the Luxe Hotel, street women 
mobbed the delegates with their attentions. 
Their best customers were the very delegates 
who waxed so enthusiastic about the wonders of 
the Bolshevik regime. 

The Bolsheviki realized the value of such 
champions and appreciated their services. They 
sent them forth into the world generously 
equipped in every sense, to perpetuate the mon- 
strous delusion that the Bolsheviki and the 
Revolution are identical and that the workers 
have come into their own "under the proletarian 
dictatorship/' Woe to those who dare to tear 
the mask from the lying face. In Russia they 


are put against the wall, exiled to slow death in 
famine districts, or banished from the country. 
In Europe and America such heretics are dragged 
through the mire and morally lynched. Every- 
where the unscrupulous tools of the great 
disintegrator, the Third International, spread 
distrust and hatred in labour and radical ranks* 
Formerly ideals and integrity were the impulse 
to revolutionary activity. Social movements 
were founded upon the inner needs of each 
country. They were maintained and supported 
by the interest and zeal of the workers them- 
selves. Now all this is condemned as worthless. 
Instead the golden rain of Moscow is depended 
onto produce a rich crop of Communist organiza- 
tions and publications. Even uprisings may be 
organized to deceive and mislead the people as 
to the quality and strength of the Communist 
Party. In reality, everything is built on a foun- 
dation that crumbles to pieces the moment Mos- 
cow withdraws its financial support. 

During the two Congresses held in July, 1921, 
the friends and comrades of Maria Spiridonova 
circulated a manifesto which had been sent by 
them to the Central Committee of the Commun- 
ist Party and to the main representatives of the 
Government, calling attention to the condition 


of Spirldonova and demanding her release for 
the purpose of adequate medical treatment and 

A prominent foreign woman delegate to the 
Third Congress of the Communist International 
was approached. She promised to see Trotsky, 
and later it was reported that he had said that 
Spiridonova was " still too dangerous to be liber- 
ated." It was only after accounts of her condi- 
tion had appeared in the European Socialist press 
that she was released, on condition that she 
return to prison on her recovery. Her friends 
in whose care she is at present face the alternative 
of letting Spiridonova die or turning her over to 
the Tcheka. 



THE proudest claims of the Bolsheviki are 
education, art, and culture. Communist 
propaganda literature and Bolshevik 
agents at home and abroad constantly sing the 
praises of these great achievements. 

To the casual observer it may indeed appear 
that the Bolsheviki have accomplished wonders 
in this field. They have organized more schools 
than existed under the Tsar, and they have 
made them accessible to the masses. This is 
true of the larger cities. But in the provinces 
the existing schools met the opposition of the 
local Bolsheviki, who closed most of them on the 
alleged ground of counter-revolutionary activ- 
ities, or because of lack of Communist teachers. 
While, then, in the large centres the percentage 
of children attending schools and the number of 
higher educational institutions is greater than 
in the past, the same does not apply to the rest 
of Russia. Still, so far as quantity is concerned, 



the Bolsheviki deserve credit for their educa- 
tional work and the general diffusion of educa- 

; In the case of the theatres no reservations have 
been made. All were permitted to continue 
their performances when factories were shut 
down for want of fuel. The opera, ballet, and 
; Lunacharsky's plays were elaborately staged, 
and the Proletcult organized to advance prole- 
tarian culture was generously subsidized even 
when the famine was at its height. It is also 
true that the Government printing presses were 
kept busy day and night manufacturing propa- 
ganda literature and issuing the old classics. At 
the same time the imagists and futurists gathered 
unmolested in Cafe Domino and other places. 
The palaces and museums were kept up in ad- 
mirable condition. In any other starved, block- 
aded, and attacked country all this would have 
been a very commendable showing. 

In Russia, however, two revolutions had taken 
place. To be sure, the February Revolution 
was not far-reaching. Still, it brought about 
political changes without which there might not 
have been an October. It also released great 
cultural forces from the prisons and Siberia 
a valuable element without which the educa- 


tlonal work of the Bolsheviki could not have 
been undertaken. 

It was the October Revolution which struck 
deepest into the vitals of Russia. It uprooted 
the old values and cleared the ground for new 
conceptions and forms of life. Inasmuch as the 
Bolsheviki became the sole medium of articulat- 
ing and interpreting the promise of the Revolu- 
tion, the earnest student will not be content 
merely with the increase of schools, the continua- 
tion of the ballet, or the good condition of the 
museums. He will want to know whether edu- 
cation, culture, and art in Bolshevik Russia sym- 
bolize the spirit of the Revolution, whether they 
serve to quicken the imagination and broaden 
the horizon; above all, whether they have re- 
leased and helped to apply the latent qualities of 
the masses. 

Critical inquiry in Russia is a dangerous thing. 
No wonder so many newcomers avoided looking 
beneath the surface. To them it was enough 
that the Montessori system, the educational 
ideas of Professor Dewey, and dancing by the 
Dalcroze method have been "adopted" by 
Russia. I do not contend against these innova- 
tions. But I insist that they have no bearing 
whatever on the Revolution; they do not prove 


that the Bolshevik educational experiment is 
superior to similar efforts in other countries, 
where they have been achieved without a revolu- 
tion and the terrible price it involves. 

State monopoly of thought is everywhere in- 
terpreting education to suit its own purpose. 
Similarly the Bolsheviki, to whom the State is 
supreme, use education to further their own 
ends. But while the monopoly of thought in 
other countries has not succeeded in entirely 
checking the spirit of free inquiry and critical 
analysis, the "proletarian dictatorship" has 
completely paralysed every attempt at indepen- 
dent investigation. The Communist criterion 
is dominant. The least divergence from official 
dogma and opinion on the part of teachers, edu- 
cators, or pupils exposes them to the general 
charge of counter-revolution, resulting in dis- 
charge and expulsion, if nothing more drastic. 

In a previous chapter I have mentioned the 
case of the Moscow University students expelled 
and exiled for protesting against Tcheka violence 
toward the political prisoners in the Butyrki. 
But it was not only such "political" offences 
that were punished. Offences of a purely aca- 
demic nature were treated in the same manner. 
Thus the objection of some professors to Com- 


mnnist interference in the methods of instruction 
was sternly suppressed. Teachers and students 
who supported the professors were severely pun- 
ished. I know a professor of sociology and liter- 
ature, a brilliant scholar and a Revolutionist, who 
was discharged from the Moscow University 
because, as an Anarchist, he encouraged the 
critical faculty of his pupils. He is but one in- 
stance of the numerous cases of non-Communist 
intellectuals who, under one pretext or another, 
are systematically hounded and finally elimi- 
nated from Bolshevik institutions. The Com- 
munist " cells " in control of every classroom have 
created an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion 
in which real education cannot thrive. 

It is true that the Bolsheviki have striven to 
carry education and culture into the Red Army 
and the villages. But here again the same con- 
ditions prevail. Communism is the State reli- 
gion and, like all religions, it discourages the 
critical attitude and frowns upon independent 
inquiry. Yet without the capacity for parallel- 
ism and opportunity for verification education is 

The Proletcult is the pet child of the Bolshe- 
viki. Like most parents, they claim for their 
offspring extraordinary talents. They hold it 


up as the great genius who is destined to enrich 
the world with new values. Henceforth the 
masses shall no longer drink from the poisonous 
well of bourgeois culture. Out of their own 
creative impulse and through their own efforts 
the proletariat shall bring forth great treasures in 
literature, art, and music. But like most child 
prodigies, the Proletcult did not live up to its 
early promise. Before long it proved itself 
below the average, incapable of innovation, lack- 
ing originality, and without sustaining power. 
Already in 1920 I was told by two of the fore- 
most foster-fathers of the Proletcult, Gorki and 
Lunacharsky, that it was a failure. 

In Petrograd, Moscow, and throughout my 
travels I had occasion to study the efforts of the 
Proletcult. Whether expressed in printed form, 
on the stage, in clay or colour, they were barren 
of ideas or vision, and showed not a trace of the 
inner urge which impels creative art. They were 
hopelessly commonplace. I do not doubt that 
the masses will some day create a new culture, 
new art values, new forms of beauty. But these 
will come to life from the inner necessity of the 
people themselves, and not through an arbitrary 
will imposed upon them. 

The mechanistic approach to art and culture 



and the idee fixe that nothing must express itself 
outside of the channels of the State have stulti- 
fied the cultural and artistic expression of the 
Russian people. In poetry and literature, in 
drama, painting, and music not a single epic of 
the Revolution has been produced during five 
years. This is the more remarkable when one 
bears in mind how rich Russia was in works of 
art and how close her writers and poets were to 
the soul of the Russian people. Yet in the great- 
est upheaval in the world's history no one has 
come forward with pen or brush or lyre to give 
artistic expression to the miracle or to set to 
music the storm that carried the Russian people 
forward. Works of art, like new-born man, come 
in pain and travail. Verily the five years of Revo- 
lution should have proved very rich spiritually 
and creatively. For in those years the soul of 
Russia has gone through a thousand crucifixions. 
Yet in this regard Russia was never before so 
poor and desolate. 

The Bolsheviki claim that a revolutionary 
period is not conducive to creative art. That 
contention is not borne out by the French 
Revolution. To mention only the Marseillaise, 
the great music of which lives and will live. 
The French Revolution was rich in spiritual 


effort, in poetry, painting, science, and in its 
great literature and letters. But, then, the 
French Revolution was never so completely in 
the bondage of one dogmatic idea as has been 
the case with Russia. The Jacobins indeed 
strove hard to fetter the spirit of the French 
Revolution and they paid dearly for it. The 
Bolsheviki have been copying the destructive 
phases of the French Revolution. But they 
have done nothing that can compare with the 
constructive achievements of that period. 

I have said that nothing outstanding has been 
created in Russia. To be exact, I must except 
the great revolutionary poem, "Twelve," by 
Alexander Blok. But even that gifted genius, 
deeply inspired by the Revolution, and imbued 
with the fire that had come to purify all life, 
soon ceased to create. His experience with the 
Tcheka (he was arrested in 1919), the terrorism 
all about him, the senseless waste of life and 
energy, the suffering and hopelessness of it all 
depressed his spirit and broke his health. Soon 
Alexander Blok was no more. 

Even a Blok could not create with an iron 
band compressing his brain the iron band of 
Bolshevik distrust, persecution, and censorship. 
How far-reaching the latter was I realized from 


a document the Museum Expedition had dis- 
covered in Vologda. It was a "very confiden- 
tial, secret" order issued in 1920 and signed by 
Ulyanova, the sister of Lenin and chief of the 
Central Educational Department. It directed 
the libraries throughout Russia to " eliminate all 
non-Communist literature, except the Bible, the 
Koran, and the classics including even Com- 
munistic writings dealing with problems which 
were being " solved in a different way" by the 
existing regime. The condemned literature was 
to be sent to paper mills " because of the scarcity 
of paper." 

Such edicts and the State monopoly of all 
material, printing machinery, and mediums of 
circulation exclude every possibility of the birth 
of creative work. The editor of a little coopera- 
tive paper published a brilliant poem, unsigned, 
It was the cry of a tortured poet's soul in protest 
against the continued terror. The editor was 
promptly arrested and his little shop closed. 
The author would probably have been shot had 
his whereabouts been known. No doubt there 
are many agonized cries in Russia, but they are 
muffled cries. No one may hear them or inter- 
pret their meaning. The future alone has the 
key to the cultural and artistic treasures now 


hidden from the Argus eyes of the Department 
of Education and the numerous other censorial 

Russia is now the dumping ground for medi- 
ocrities in art and culture. They fit into the 
narrow groove, they dance attendance on the all- 
powerful political commissars. They live in the 
Kremlin and skim the cream of life, while the 
real poets like Blok and others die of want 
and despair. 

The void in literature, poetry, and art is felt 
most in the theatres, the State theatres espe- 
cially. I once sat through five hours of acting 
in the Alexandrovsky Theatre in Petrograd when 
"Othello" was staged, with Andreyeva, Gorki's 
wife, as Desdemona. It is hard to imagine a 
play more atrociously presented. I saw most of 
the other plays in the State theatre and not one 
of them gave any hint of the earthquake that 
had shaken Russia. There was no new note in 
interpretation, scenery, or method. It was all 
commonplace and inadequate, innocent even of 
the advancement made in dramatic art in bour- 
geois countries, and utterly inconsequential in 
the light of the Revolution. 

The only exception was the Moscow Art 
Theatre. Its performance of Gorki's "Night's 


Lodging" was especially powerful. Real art 
was also presented in the Stanislavsky Studio. 
These were the only oases in the art desert of 
Russia. But even the Art Theatre showed no 
trace of the great revolutionary events Russia 
was living through. The repertoire which had 
made the Art Theatre famous a quarter of a 
century before still continued night after night. 
There were no new Ibsens, Tolstois, or Tchekovs 
to thunder their protest against the new evils, 
and if there had been, no theatre could have 
staged them. It was safer to interpret the past 
than to voice the present. Yet, though the Art 
Theatre kept strictly within the past, Stanis- 
lavsky was often in difficulties with the author- 
ities. He had suffered arrest and was once 
evicted from his studio. He had just moved 
into a new place when I visited him with Louise 
Bryant who had asked me to act as her inter- 
preter. Stanislavsky looked forlorn and dis- 
couraged among his still unpacked boxes of stage 
property. I saw him also on several other occa- 
sions and found him almost hopeless about the 
future of the theatre in Russia. "The theatre 
can grow only through inspiration from new 
works of art/' he would say; "without it the 
interpretive artist must stagnate and the theatre 


deteriorate/* But Stanislavsky himself was 
too much the creative artist to stagnate. He 
sought other forms of interpretation. His newest 
venture was an attempt to bring singing and 
dramatic acting into cooperative harmony. I 
attended a dress rehearsal of such a performance 
and found it very impressive. The effect of 
the voice was greatly enhanced by the realistic 
finesse which Stanislavsky achieved in dramatic 
art. But these efforts were entirely the work of 
himself and his little circle of art students; they 
had nothing to do with the Bolsheviki of the 

There are some other innovations, begun long 
before the advent of the Bolsheviki and per- 
mitted by them to continue because they have 
no bearing on the Russian actuality. The 
Kamerney Theatre registers its revolt against 
the imposition of the play upon the acting, 
against the limitation of expression involved in 
the orthodox interpretation of dramatic art. 
It achieves noteworthy results by the new mode 
of acting, complemented by original scenery and 
music, but mostly in plays of a lighter genre. 

Another unique attempt is essayed by the 
Semperante Theatre. It is based on the con- 
ception that the written drama checks the 


growth and diversity of the interpretive artist. 
Plays should therefore be improvised, thereby 
affording greater scope to spontaneity, inspira- 
tion, and mood of the artist. It is a novel ex- 
periment, but as the improvised plays must also 
keep within the limits of the State censorship, the 
work of the Semperantists suffers from a lack of 

The most interesting cultural endeavour I met 
in Kiev was the work of the Jewish Kulturliga. 
Its nucleus was organized in 1918 to minister to 
the needs of pogrom victims. They had to be 
provided for, sheltered, fed, and clothed. Young 
Jewish literary men and an able organizer 
brought the Kulturliga to life. They did not 
content themselves with ministering only to the 
physical needs of the unfortunates. They or- 
ganized children's homes, public schools, high 
schools, evening classes; later a seminary and 
art school were added. When we visited Kiev 
the Kulturliga owned a printing plant and a 
studio, besides its other educational institutions, 
and had succeeded in organizing 230 branches 
in the Ukraina. At a literary evening and a 
special performance arranged in honour of the 
Expedition we were able to witness the extraor- 
dinary achievements of the Kulturliga, > 


At the literary evening Perez's poem "The 
Four Seasons" was rendered by recitative group 
singing. The effect was striking. Nature at the 
birth of spring, birds sending forth their joyous 
song of love, the mystery and romance of mat- 
ing, the ecstasy of renewing and becoming, the 
rumbling of the approaching storm, the crash of 
the mighty giants struck by lightning, rain 
softly falling, the leaves fluttering to earth, the 
somberness and pathos of autumn, the last 
desperate resistance of Nature against death, the 
trees shrouded in white all were made vivid 
and alive by the new form of collective recita- 
tive. Every nuance of Nature was brought out 
by the group of artists on the improvised little 
stage of the Kulturliga. 

The next day we visited the art school. The 
children's classes were the more interesting. 
There was no discipline, no rigid rules, no mech- 
anistic control of their art impulses. The 
children did drawing, painting, and modelling 
mostly Jewish motifs: a pogromed city, by a 
boy of fourteen; a devout Jew in his tales pray- 
ing in the synagogue, mortal fear of the pogrom 
savages written in his every feature; an old 
Jewish woman, the tragic remnant of a whole 
family slaughtered; and similar scenes from the 


life of the Russian Jew. The efforts were often 
crude, but there was about them nothing of the 
stilted manner characteristic of the Proletcult. 
There was no attempt to impose a definite 
formula on art expression. 

Later we attended the studio. In a bare 
room, without scenery, lighting, costumes, or 
make-up, the artists of the Kulturliga gave sev- 
eral one-act plays and presented also an un- 
published work found among the effects of a 
playwright. The performance had an artistic 
touch and finish I had rarely seen before. 
The play is called "The End of the World/ 1 
The wrath of God rolls like thunder across the 
world, commanding man to prepare for the end. 
Yet man heeds not. Then all the elements are 
let loose, pursuing one another in wild fury; the 
storm rages and shrieks, and man's groans are 
drowned in the terrific hour of judgment. The 
world goes under, and all is dead. 

Then something begins to move again. Black 
shadows symbolizing half beast, half man, with 
distorted faces and hesitating movements, crouch 
out of their caves. In awe and fear they stretch 
their trembling hands toward one another. Halt- 
ingly at first, then with growing confidence, man 
attempts in common effort with his fellows to lift 


himself out of the black void. Light begins to 
break. Again a thunderous voice rolls over the 
earth. It is the voice of fulfilment. 

It was a stirring artistic achievement. 

When the Liga was first organized the Bolshe- 
viki subsidized its work. Later, when they re- 
turned to Kiev after its evacuation by Denikin, 
they gave very scanty support to the educational 
institutions of the Kulturliga. This unfriendly 
attitude was due to the Yevkom, the Jewish 
Communist Section, which intrigues against 
every independent Jewish cultural endeavour. 
When we left Kiev the ardent workers of the 
Liga were much worried about the future of the 
organization. I am not in a position to say at 
this writing whether the Liga was able to con- 
tinue its work or was closed altogether. How- 
ever, laudable as were the innovations of the 
Kulturliga and the attempts of the Kamerney 
and Semperante at new modes of expression, 
they could not be considered as having any 
bearing on the Revolution. 

State support to so-called art is given mostly 
to Lunacharsky's dramatic ventures and other 
Communist interpretations of culture. Whea I 
first met Lunacharsky I thought him much less 
the politician than the artist. I heard him lee- 


ture at the Sverdlov University before a large 
audience of workingmen and women, populariz- 
ing the origin and development of art. It was 
done splendidly. When I met him again he 
was so thoroughly in the meshes of Party disci- 
pline and so completely shorn of his power that 
every effort of his was frustrated. Then he began 
to write plays. That was his undoing. He 
could not employ the material of the actual 
reality, and the February Revolution, Kerensky, 
and the Constituent Assembly had already been 
caricatured to a thread. Lunacharsky turned 
to the German Revolution. He wrote "The 
Smith and the Councillor/' a sort of burlesque. 
The play is so amateurish and commonplace that 
no theatre outside of Russia would have cared 
to present it. But Lunacharsky was in con- 
trol of the theatres why not exploit them for his 
own works ? The play was staged at great cost, 
at a time when millions on the Volga were starv- 
ing. But even that could have been forgiven 
if the play had any meaning or contained 
anything suggestive of the tragedy of Russia. 
Instead, it lacked all life and was rich only in 
vulgar scenes portraying Ludendorff, the rene- 
gade Social Democratic President, a degenerate 
aristocrat, and a princess of the demimonde. 


The drunken men frantically scramble for the 
possession of the woman, literally tearing her 
clothing off her back. A revolting scene, yet in 
the whole audience of teachers and members of 
the Department of Education not a single pro- 
test was voiced against the affront to the taste 
and intelligence of revolutionary Russia. On 
the contrary, they applauded the playwright, for 
those sycophants depended on Lunacharsky for 
their rations. They could not afford to be critical. 

Vanity and power break the strongest char- 
acter, and Lunacharsky is not strong. It is his 
lack of will which makes him submit, against his 
better judgment, to the galling discipline and 
espionage placed over him. Perhaps he avenges 
himself by forcing upon the public at large and 
the actors under his charge his dramatic works* 

After a careful analysis of the educational and 
cultural efforts of the Bolsheviki the earnest 
student will come to the following conclusions: 
first, there is quantity rather than substance 
in the education of Russia to-day; secondly, the 
theatres, the ballet, and the museums receive 
generous support from the Government, but the 
reason for it is not so much love of art as the 
necessity of finding some outlet for the checked 
and stifled aspirations of the people. 


The political dictatorship of the BolshevikI 
with one stroke suppressed the social phase of 
life in Russia. There was no forum even for 
the most inoffensive social intercourse, no clubs, 
no meeting places, no restaurants, not even a 
dance hall. I remember the shocked expression 
of Zorin when I asked him if the young people 
could not occasionally meet for a dance free from 
Communist supervision. " Dance halls are gath- 
ering places for counter-revolutionists; we closed 
them/ 5 he informed me. The emotional and 
human needs of the people were considered 
dangerous to the regime. 

On the other hand, the dreadful existence 
hunger, cold, and darkness was sapping the life 
of the people. Gloom and despair by day, 
congestion, lack of light and heat at night, and 
no escape from it all. There was, of course, the 
political life of the Communist Party a life 
stern and forbidding, a life without colour or 
warmth. The masses had no contact with or in- 
terest in that life, and they were not permitted to 
have anything of their own. A people bottled up 
is a menace. Some outlet had to be provided, 
some relief from the black despair. The theatre, 
the opera, and the museum were that relief. 
What if the theatres gave nothing new ? What 


if the opera had bad singing? And the ballet 
continued to move in the old toe circles ? The 
places were warm; they had light. They fur- 
nished the opportunity for human association 
and one could forget the misery and loneliness 
one might even forget the Tcheka. The 
theatre, the opera, the ballet, and the museum 
became the safety valve of the Bolshevik regime. 
And as the theatres gave nothing of protest, 
nothing new or vital, they were permitted to 
continue. They solved a great and difficult 
problem and furnished excellent copy for foreign 



ETE in the summer of 1921 there came the 
harrowing news of the famine. To 
those who had kept in touch with inner 
affairs the information was not quite unexpected. 
We had learned during the early part of the 
summer that a large proportion of the population 
was doomed to death from starvation. At that 
time a group of scientific agriculturists had as- 
sembled in Moscow. Their report showed that, 
owing to bureaucratic centralization, and cor- 
ruption and delay in seed distribution, timely 
and sufficient sowing had been prevented. The 
Soviet press kept the report of the agricultural 
conference from the public. But in July items 
began to appear in the Pravda and the Izvestia 
telling of the terrible drought in the Volga region 
and the fearful conditions in the famine-stricken 

Immediately various groups and individuals 
came forward ready to cooperate with the Gov- 



ernment in coping with the calamity. The 
Left Wing elements Anarchists, Social Revo- 
lutionists, and Maximalists offered to organize 
relief work and to collect funds. But they re- 
ceived no encouragement from the Soviet au- 
thorities. On the other hand, elements of the 
Right, the Cadets (Constitutional Democrats), 
were received with open arms. Kishkin, Min- 
ister of Finance under Kerensky, Mme. Kuskova, 
Prokopovitch, and other prominent Conserv- 
atives, who had bitterly fought the Revolution, 
were accepted by the BolshevikL These people 
had been denounced as counter-revolutionists 
and repeatedly arrested and imprisoned, yet 
they were given preference and permitted to 
organize the group known as the Citizens* 
Committee. When the latter refused to work 
under the guardianship of the Moscow Soviet, 
insisting upon complete autonomy and the right 
to publish its own paper, the Government con- 
sented. Such discrimination in favour of re- 
actionaries as against those who had faithfully 
stood by the Revolution could be explained only 
in two ways. First, the Bolsheviki considered 
it dangerous to grant the Left elements free 
access to the peasantry; secondly, it was neces- 
sary to make an impression on Europe, which 


could be effectively done by means of the most 
conservative group. This became clear even 
before the Citizens' Committee began its relief 

In the beginning the Committee received the 
entire support of the Government. A special 
building was assigned for its headquarters and it 
was granted the right to issue its own paper, ' 
called Pomoshtch (Succour). Members of the 
Committee were also promised permission to go to 
Western Europe for the purpose of arousing inter- 
est and getting support for the famine stricken. 
Two numbers of the paper were issued. Its ap- 
pearance caused significant comment: it was an 
exact reproduction, in size, type, and general 
form, of the old Fyedomosti, the most reaction- 
ary sheet under the former regime. The publica- 
tion was, of course, very guarded in its tone.' 
But between the lines one could read its antago- 
nism to the ruling Party. Its first issue contained 
a letter from the Metropolitan Tikhon, wherein 
he commanded the faithful to send their contri- 
butions to him. He assured his flock that he was 
to have complete control of the distribution of 
the donations. The Citizens' Committee was* 
given carte blanche in carrying on its work, and< 
the fact was heralded by the Bolsheviki as proof 


of their liberality and willingness to cooperate 
with all elements in famine relief. 

Presently the Soviet Government entered into 
an agreement with the American Relief Admin- 
istration and other European organizations re- 
garding aid for the Volga sufferers, and then 
the headquarters of the Citizens* Committee 
were raided, the paper suppressed, and the 
leading members of the Committee thrown into 
the Tcheka on the usual charge of counter- 
revolution. Now it was reasonably certain that 
Mme. Kuskova and her co-workers were no 
more counter-revolutionary when they were 
permitted to organize Volga relief than they had 
been at any time since 1917. Why, then, did the 
Communist State accept them while rejecting 
the assistance of true revolutionists? For no 
other reason than propaganda purposes. When 
the Citizens' Committee had served that purpose 
it was kicked overboard in true Bolshevik fash- 
ion. Only one person the Tcheka dared not 
touch Vera Nikolayevna Figner, the venerable 
revolutionist. Great humanitarian that she is, 
she joined the Citizens* Committee and devoted 
herself to its work with the same zeal that had 
made her so effective as one of the leading spirits 
of the Narodnaya Folya. Twenty-two years of 


living death in Schliisselburg had failed to 
destroy her ardour. When the Citizens 5 Com- 
mittee was arrested, Vera Nikolayevna de- 
manded to share the same fate, but the Tcheka 
knew the spiritual influence of this woman in 
Russia and abroad, and she was left in peace. 
The other members of the Citizens' Committee 
were kept in prison for a long time, then exiled 
to remote parts of Russia and finally deported. 

Except for the foreign organizations doing re- 
lief work in Russia, the Soviet Government could 
now stand before the world as the sole dispenser 
of support to the starving in the famine district. 
Kalinin, the marionette President of the Socialist 
Republic, equipped with much propaganda liter- 
ature and surrounded by a large staff of Soviet 
officials and foreign correspondents, made his 
triumphal march through the stricken territory. 
It was widely heralded throughout the world, 
and the desired effect was achieved* But the 
real work in the famine region was carried on 
not so much by the official machine as by the 
great host of unknown men and women from 
the ranks of the proletariat and the intelligentsia. 
Most devotedly and with utter consecration they 
gave of their own depleted energies. Many of 
them perished from typhus, exposure, and ex- 


haustion; some were slain by the power of dark- 
ness which now, even more than in Tolstoi's time, 
holds many sections of Russia in its grip. Doc- 
tors, nurses, and relief workers were often killed 
by the unfortunates they had come to aid, as evil 
spirits who had willed the famine and the mis- 
fortunes of Russia. These were the real heroes 
and martyrs, unknown and unsung. 



THE Tcheka had succeeded In terrorizing 
the whole people. The only exceptions 
were the politicals, whose courage and de- 
votion to their ideals defied the Bolsheviki as it 
had the Romanovs. I knew many of those 
brave spirits, and I saw in them the only hope to 
sustain one amid the general wreckage. They 
were the living proof of the powerlessness of 
terror against an Ideal. 

Typical of this class was a certain Anarchist 
who had long been sought for by the Tcheka as 
an important Makhnovetz. He was a member 
of the military staff of the revolutionary pov~ 
stantsi of the Ukraina and the close friend and 
counsellor of Makhno. He had already known 
him intimately when they were together in 
katorga in the days of the Tsar. He had shared 
all the hardships and danger of the povstantsi life 
and participated in their campaigns against the 



enemies of the Revolution. After the defeat of 
Wrangel and the last treachery of the Bolsheviki 
toward Makhno, when the latter's army had be- 
come scattered and many of its members killed, 
this man succeeded in escaping the Bolshevik 
net. He determined to come to Moscow, there 
to write a history of Makhnovstchina. It was 
a perilous journey, made under most difficult 
conditions, with death constantly treading his 
footsteps. Under an assumed name he secured 
a tiny room in the environs of the capital. He 
lived in most abject poverty, always in dan- 
ger of his life, visiting his wife in the city only 
under cover of darkness. Once in every twenty- 
four hours he would come to the appointed place 
for a little respite and his sole meal of the day, 
consisting of potatoes, herring, and tea. Every 
moment he risked being recognized, for he was well 
known in Moscow, and recognition meant sum- 
mary execution. His wife also, if discovered, 
would have met the same fate the devoted 
woman who, though with child at the time, had 
followed him to Moscow. After a desperate 
hunt for employment she found a position in a 
creche, but as pregnant women were not accepted 
in such institutions, she had to disguise her con- 
dition. All day long she had to be on her feet, 


attending to her duties,, and living in constant 
fear for the safety of her husband. 

When the baby was born the situation became 
more aggravated. The woman was harassed by 
her superiors because she had obtained the 
position without their knowledge of her condi- 
tion. Petty officialdom and hard work ex- 
hausted her energies and the daily anxiety about 
the man she loved nearly drove her frantic. 
Yet never a sign of all that troubled her when 
the man would visit her. 

Many evenings I spent with this couple. 
They were entirely cut off from the outside world 
and former friends, all alone save for the fear of 
discovery and death which was their constant 
companion. In the dreary, damp room, the baby 
asleep, we passed many hours talking in subdued 
voices about the Ukrainian peasantry and the 
Makhno movement. My friend was familiar 
with every phase of it from personal experience, 
which he was now incorporating into his book on 
Makhno. He was absorbed in that work, which 
was for the first time to give to the world the 
truth about Makhno and the povstantsi. Deeply 
concerned about his wife and child, he was en- 
tirely oblivious to his own safety, though know- 
ing that every day the Tcheka net was drawn 


closer about him. With great difficulty he was 
finally prevailed upon to leave his beloved 
Russia, as the .only way of saving his family. 
What a commentary on the Socialist Republic, 
whose bravest and truest sons must keep in 
hiding or forsake their native soil ! 
* * * 

Life in Russia had become to me a constant 
torture; the need of breaking my two years 5 
silence was imperative. During all the summer 
I was in the throes of a bitter conflict between 
the necessity of leaving and my inability to tear 
myself away from what had been an ideal to me. 
It was like the tragic end of a great love to which 
one clings long after it is no more. 

In the midst of my struggle there happened 
an event which further served to demonstrate 
the complete collapse of the Bolsheviki as revolu- 
tionists. It was the announcement of the return 
to Russia of the Tsarist General Slastchev, one 
of the most reactionary and brutal militarists 
of the old regime. He had fought against the 
Revolution from its very beginning and had led 
some of the Wrangel forces in the Crimea. He 
was guilty of fiendish barbarities to war prisoners 
and infamous as a maker of pogroms. Now 
Slastchev recanted and was returning to "his 


Fatherland." This arch counter-revolutionist 
and Jew-baiter, together with several other 
Tsarist generals and White guardists, was re- 
ceived by the Bolsheviki with military honours. 
No doubt it was just retribution that the anti- 
Semite had to salute the Jew Trotsky, his mili- 
tary superior. But to the Revolution and the 
Russian people the triumphal return of the 
imperialists was an outrage. 

The old general had changed his colours but 
not his nature. In his letter to the officers and 
men of the Wrangel Army he delivered himself of 
the following: 

I, Slastchev Krimsky, command you to return to your 
Fatherland and into the fold of the Red Army. Our 
country needs our defense against her enemies. I com- 
mand you to return. 

As a reward for his newly fledged love of the 
Socialist Fatherland Slastchev " Krimsky" was 
commissioned to quell the Karelian peasants 
who demanded self-determination, and Slastchev 
had the opportunity of giving full play to the 
autocratic powers he was vested with. 

Military receptions and honours for the man 
who had been foremost in the attempt to crush 
the Revolution, and imprisonment or death for 


the lovers of liberty! At the same time the 
true sons of Russia, who, 'had defended the Revo- 
lution against every attack and had aided the 
Bolsheviki to political power, were made home- 
less by deportation to foreign lands. A more 
tragic debacle history has never before witnessed. 
The first to be deported by the " revolutionary" 
Government were ten Anarchists, most of them 
known in the international revolutionary move- 
ment as tried idealists and martyrs for their 
cause. Among them was Volin, a highly cul- 
tured man, a gifted writer and lecturer, who had 
been editor of various Anarchist publications in 
Europe and America. In Russia, where he re- 
turned in 1917, he helped to organize the Ukrain- 
ian Confederation of Nabat and, was for a time 
lecturer for the Soviet Department of Education 
in Kharkov. Volin had been a member of an 
Anarchist partisan military unit that fought 
against Austro-German occupation, and for a 
considerable time he also conducted educational 
and cultural work in the Makhno Army. During 
the year 1921 he was imprisoned by the Bolshe- 
viki and deported after the hunger strike of the 
Taganka Anarchists which lasted ten and a half 
In the same group was G, Maximoff, an 


Anarchist of many years 5 standing. Before the 
Revolution he had been active among the stu- 
dents of the Petrograd University and also among 
the peasants. He participated in all the revolu- 
tionary struggles beginning with the February 
Revolution, was one of the editors of Golos Truda 
and member of the All-Russian Secretariat of 
Anarcho-syndicalists. He is an able and popular 
writer and lecturer, 

Mark Mratchny, another of the deported, has 
been an Anarchist since 1907. At the time when 
Hetnian Skoropadsky ruled Ukraina with the 
help of German bayonets, Mratchny was a mem- 
ber of the Revolutionary Bureau of the students 
of Kharkov. He held the position of instructor 
in the Soviet School Department of Kharkov, 
and later in Siberia. He edited the Nabat dur- 
ing the period of agreement between Makhno 
and the Bolsheviki, and was later arrested 
together with the other Anarchists who had come 
to Kharkov for the Anarchist Conference. 

Among the deported was also Yartchuk, 
famous as one of the leaders of the Kronstadt 
sailors in the uprising of July, 1917, a man who 
enjoyed exceptional influence among the sailors 
and workers and whose idealism and devotion 
are matters of historic record. In the group 


there were also several students mere youths 
who had participated in the Anarchist hunger- 
strike in the Taganka prison* 

# * * 

To remain longer in Bolshevik Russia had 
become unbearable. I was compelled to speak 
out, and decided to leave the country. Friends 
were making arrangements to open a sub rasa 
passage abroad, but just as all preparations were 
completed we were informed of new develop- 
ments. Berlin Anarchists had made a demand 
upon the Soviet Government that passports be 
issued for Alexander Berkman, A. Shapiro, and 
myself, to enable us to attend the International 
Anarchist Congress which was to convene in Berlin 
in December, 1921 . Whether due to that demand 
or for other reasons, the Soviet Government 
finally issued the required papers and on De- 
cember i, 1921, I left Russia in the company of 
Alexander Berkman and A. Shapiro. It was 
just one year and eleven months since I had set 
foot on what I believed to be the promised land. 
My heart was heavy with the tragedy of Russia. 
One thought stood out in bold relief: I must raise 
my voice against the crimes committed in the 
name of the Revolution. I would be heard re- 
gardless of friend or foe. 



NON-BOLSHEVIK Socialist critics of the 
Russian failure contend that the Revolu- 
tion could not have succeeded in Russia 
because industrial conditions had not reached 
the necessary climax in that country. They 
point to Marx, who taught that a social revolu- 
tion is possible only in countries with a highly 
developed industrial system and its attendant 
social antagonisms. They therefore claim that 
the Russian Revolution could not be a social 
revolution, and that historically it had to evolve 
along constitutional, democratic lines, comple- 
mented by a growing industry, in order to ripen 
the country economically for the basic change. 

This orthodox Marxian view leaves an impor- 
tant factor out of consideration a factor per- 
haps more vital to the possibility and success of 
a social revolution than even the industrial ele- 
ment. That is the psychology of the masses at 
a given period. Why is there, for Instance, no 



social revolution in the United States, France, 
or even in Germany? Surely these countries 
have reached the industrial development set by 
Marx as the culminating stage. The truth is 
that industrial development and sharp social 
contrasts are of themselves by no means suffi- 
cient to give birth to a new society or to call 
forth a social revolution. The necessary social 
consciousness, the required mass psychology is 
missing in such countries as the United States 
and the others mentioned. That explains why 
no social revolution has taken place there. 

In this regard Russia had the advantage of 
other more industrialized and "civilized" lands. 
It is true that Russia was not as advanced in- 
dustrially as her Western neighbours. But the 
Russian mass psychology, inspired and intensi- 
fied by the February Revolution, was ripening 
at so fast a pace that within a few months the 
people were ready for such ultra-revolutionary slo- 
gans as "All power to the Soviets " and "The land 
to the peasants, the factories to the workers/' 

The significance of these slogans should not be 
under-estimated. Expressing in a large degree 
the instinctive and semi-conscious will of the 
people, they yet signified the complete social, eco- 
nomic, and industrial reorganization of Russia. 


What country in Europe or America is prepared 
to interpret such revolutionary mottoes into life ? 
Yet in Russia, in the months of June and July, 
1917, these slogans became popular and were en- 
thusiastically and actively taken up, in the form 
of direct action, by the bulk of the industrial and 
agrarian population of more than 150 millions. 
That was sufficient proof of the " ripeness 5 ' of 
the Russian people for the social revolution. 

As to economic " preparedness" in the] Marx- 
ian sense, it must not be forgotten that Russia is 
preeminently an agrarian country. Marx's dic- 
tum presupposes the industrialization of the 
peasant and farmer population in every highly 
developed society, as a step toward social fitness 
for revolution. But events in Russia, in 1917, 
demonstrated that revolution does not await this 
process of industrialization and what is more 
important cannot be made to wait. The Rus- 
sian peasants began to expropriate the landlords 
and the workers took possession of the factories 
without taking cognizance of Marxian dicta. 
This popular action, by virtue of its own logic, 
ushered in the social revolution in Russia, up- 
setting all Marxian calculations. The psychol- 
ogy of the Slav proved stronger than social- 
democratic theories. 


That psychology involved the passionate 
yearning for liberty nurtured by a century of 
revolutionary agitation among all classes of 
society. The Russian people had fortunately 
remained politically unsophisticated and un- 
touched by the corruption and confusion created 
among the proletariat of other countries by 
" democratic " liberty and self-government. The 
Russian remained, in this sense, natural and 
simple, unfamiliar with the subtleties of politics, 
of parliamentary trickery, and legal makeshifts. 
On the other hand, his primitive sense of justice 
and right was strong and vital, without the dis- 
integrating finesse of pseudo-civilization. He 
knew what he wanted and he did not wait for 
"historic inevitability " to bring it to him: he 
employed direct action. The Revolution to him 
was a fact of life, not a mere theory for discussion. 

Thus the social revolution took place in Russia 
in spite of the industrial backwardness of the 
country. But to make the Revolution was not 
enough. It was necessary for it to advance and 
broaden, to develop into economic and social 
reconstruction. That phase of the Revolution 
necessitated fullest play of personal initiative 
and collective effort. The development and 
success of the Revolution depended on the broad- 


est exercise of the creative genius of the people, 
on the cooperation of the intellectual and manual 
proletariat. Common interest is the kit motif 
of all revolutionary endeavour, especially on its 
constructive side. This spirit of mutual purpose 
and solidarity swept Russia with a mighty wave 
in the first days of the October-November 
Revolution. Inherent in that enthusiasm were 
forces that could have moved mountains if intel- 
ligently guided by exclusive consideration for the 
well-being of the whole people. The medium for 
such effective guidance was on hand : the labour 
organizations and the cooperatives with which 
Russia was covered as with a network of bridges 
combining the city with the country; the Soviets 
which sprang into being responsive to the needs of 
the Russian people; and, finally, the intelligentsia 
whose traditions for a century expressed heroic 
devotion to the cause of Russia's emancipation. 
But such a development was by no means 
within the programme of the Bolsheviki. For 
several months following October they suffered 
the popular forces to manifest themselves, the 
people carrying the Revolution into ever-widen- 
ing channels. But as soon as the Communist 
Party felt itself sufficiently strong in the govern- 
ment saddle, it began to limit the scope of popu- 


lar activity. All the succeeding acts of the 
Bolsheviki, all their following policies, changes 
of policies, their compromises and retreats, their 
methods of suppression and persecution, their 
terrorism and extermination of all other political 
views all were but the means to an end: the 
retaining of the State power in the hands of the 
Communist Party. Indeed, the Bolsheviki 
themselves (in Russia) made no secret of it. 
The Communist Party, they contended, is 
the advance guard of the proletariat, and the 
dictatorship must rest in its hands. Alas, the 
Bolsheviki reckoned without their host without 
the peasantry, whom neither the razvyortska, the 
Tcheka, nor the wholesale shooting could per- 
suade to support the Bolshevik regime. The 
peasantry became the rock upon which the best- 
laid plans and schemes of Lenin were wrecked. 
But Lenin, a nimble acrobat, was skilled in per- 
forming within the narrowest margin. The new 
economic policy was introduced just in time to 
ward off the disaster which was slowly but surely 
overtaking the whole Communist edifice. 


The "new economic policy" came as a surprise 
and a shock to most Communists. They saw in 


it a reversal of everything that their Party had 
been proclaiming a reversal of Communism it- 
self. In protest some of the oldest members of 
the Party, men who had faced danger and perse- 
cution under the old regime while Lenin and 
Trotsky lived abroad in safety, left the Commu- 
nist Party embittered and disappointed. The 
leaders then declared a lockout. They ordered 
the clearing of the Party ranks of all "doubtful" 
elements. Everybody suspected of an indepen- 
dent attitude and those who did not accept the 
new economic policy as the last word in revolu- 
tionary wisdom were expelled. Among them 
were Communists who for years had rendered 
most devoted service. Some of them, hurt to 
the quick by the unjust and brutal procedure, 
and shaken to their depths by the collapse of 
what they held most high, even resorted to sui- 
cide. But the smooth sailing of Lenin's new 
gospel had to be assured, the gospel of the sanc- 
tity of private property and the freedom of cut- 
throat competition erected upon the ruins of four 
years of revolution. 

However, Communist indignation over the 
new economic policy merely indicated the con- 
fusion of mind on the part of Lenin's opponents. 
What else but mental confusion could approve 


of the numerous acrobatic political stunts of 
Lenin and yet grow indignant at the final somer- 
sault, its logical culmination? The trouble 
with the devout Communists was that they 
clung to the Immaculate Conception of the 
Communist State which by the aid of the Revo- 
lution was to redeem the world. But most of the 
leading Communists never entertained such a 
delusion. Least of all Lenin. 

During my first interview I received the 
impression that he was a shrewd politician 
who knew exactly what he was about and 
that he would stop at nothing to achieve 
his ends. After hearing him speak on sev- 
eral occasions and reading his works I be- 
came convinced that Lenin had very" little con- 
cern in the Revolution and that Communism to 
him was a very remote thing. The centralized 
political State was Lenin's deity, to which 
everything else was to be sacrificed. Someone 
said that Lenin would sacrifice the Revolution 
to save Russia. Lenin's policies, however, have 
proven that he was willing to sacrifice both the 
Revolution and the country, or at least part of 
the latter, in order to realize his political scheme 
with what was left of Russia. 

Lenin was the most pliable politician in his- 


tory. He could be an ultra-revolutionary, a 
compromiser and conservative at the same time. 
When like a mighty wave the cry swept over 
Russia, "All power to the Soviets!" Lenin swam 
with the tide. When the peasants took posses- 
sion of the land and the workers of the factories, 
Lenin not only approved of those direct methods 
but went further. He issued the famous motto, 
"Rob the robbers/ 5 a slogan which served to 
confuse the minds of the people and caused un- 
told injury to revolutionary idealism. Never 
before did any real revolutionist interpret social 
expropriation as the transfer of wealth from one 
set of individuals to another. Yet that was 
exactly what Lenin's slogan meant. The indis- 
criminate and irresponsible raids, the accumula- 
tion of the wealth of the former bourgeoisie by 
the new Soviet bureaucracy, the chicanery prac- 
tised toward those whose only crime was their 
former status, were all the results of Lenin's 
"Rob the robbers" policy. The whole subse- 
quent history of the Revolution is a kaleidoscope 
of Lenin's compromises and betrayal of his own 

Bolshevik acts and methods since the October 
days may seem to contradict the new economic 
policy. But in reality they are links in the chain 


which was to forge the all-powerful, centralized 
Government with State Capitalism as its eco- 
nomic expression. Lenin possessed clarity of 
vision and an iron will. He knew how to make 
his comrades in Russia and outside of it believe 
that his scheme was true Socialism and his 
methods the revolution. No wonder that Lenin 
felt such contempt for his flock, which he never 
hesitated to fling into their faces. "Only fools 
can believe that Communism is possible in 
Russia now/' was Lenin's reply to the opponents 
of the new economic policy. 

As a matter of fact, Lenin was right. True 
Communism was never attempted in Russia, 
unless one considers thirty-three categories of 
pay, different food rations, privileges to some and 
indifference to the great mass as Communism. 

In the early period of the Revolution it was 
comparatively easy for the Communist Party to 
possess itself of power. All the revolutionary 
elements, carried away by the ultra-revolutionary 
promises of the Bolsheviki, helped the latter to 
power. Once in possession of the State the 
Communists began their process of elimination. 
All the political parties and groups which refused 
to submit to the new dictatorship had to go. 
First the Anarchists and Left Social Revolution- 


ists, then the Menshevlki and other opponents 
from the Right, and finally everybody who dared 
aspire to an opinion of his own. Similar was the 
fate of all independent organizations. They 
were either subordinated to the needs of the 
new State or destroyed altogether, as were the 
Soviets, the trade unions and the cooper- 
atives three great factors for the realization of 
the hopes of the Revolution. 

The Soviets first manifested themselves in 
the revolution of 1905* They played an impor- 
tant part during that brief but significant period. 
Though the revolution was crushed, the Soviet 
idea remained rooted in the minds and hearts of 
the Russian masses. At the first dawn which 
Illuminated Russia in February, 1917, the So- 
viets revived again and came into bloom in a 
very short time. To the people the Soviets by 
no means represented a curtailment of the spirit 
of the Revolution. On the contrary, the Revolu- 
tion was to find its highest, freest practical ex- 
pression through the Soviets. That was why 
the Soviets so spontaneously and rapidly spread 
throughout Russia. The Bolsheviki realized the 
significance of the popular trend and joined the 
cry. But once in control of the Government the 
Communists saw that the Soviets threatened 


the supremacy of the State. At the same time 
they could not destroy them arbitrarily without 
undermining their own prestige at home and 
abroad as the sponsors of the Soviet system. 
They began to shear them gradually of their 
powers and finally to subordinate them to their 
own needs. 

The Russian trade unions were much more 
amenable to emasculation. Numerically and 
in point of revolutionary fibre they were still in 
their childhood. By declaring adherence to the 
trade unions obligatory the Russian labour 
organizations gained in physical stature, but 
mentally they remained in the infant stage. 
The Communist State became the wet nurse of 
the trade unions. In return, the organizations 
served as the flunkeys of the State. "A school 
for Communism," said Lenin in the famous con- 
troversy on the functions of the trade unions. 
Quite right. But an antiquated school where 
the spirit of the child is fettered and crushed. 
Nowhere in the world are labour organizations 
as subservient to the will and the dictates of the 
State as they are in Bolshevik Russia. 

The fate of the cooperatives is too well known 
to require elucidation. The cooperatives were 
the most essential link between the city and the 


country. Their value to the Revolution as a 
popular and successful medium of exchange and 
distribution and to the reconstruction of Russia 
was incalculable. The Bolsheviki transformed 
them into cogs of the Government machine and 
thereby destroyed their usefulness and efficiency. 


It is now clear why the Russian Revolution, 
as conducted by the Communist Party, was a 
failure. The political power of the Party, or- 
ganized and centralized in the State, sought to 
maintain itself by all means at hand. The cen- 
tral authorities attempted to force the activities 
of the people into forms corresponding with the 
purposes of the Party.^ The sole aim of the 
latter was to strengthen the State and monopo- 
lize all economical, political, and social acitivities 
even all cultural manifestations. The Revolu- 
tion had an entirely different object, and in its 
very character it was the negation of authority 
and centralization. It strove to open ever- 
larger fields for proletarian expression and to 
multiply the phases of individual and collective 
effort. The aims and tendencies of the Revolu- 
tion were diametrically opposed to those of the 
ruling political party. 


Just as diametrically opposed were the methods 
of the Revolution and of the State. Those of 
the former were inspired by the spirit of the 
Revolution itself: that is to say, by emancipation 
from all oppressive and limiting forces; in short, 
by libertarian principles. The methods of .the 
State, on the contrary of the Bolshevik State 
as of every government were based on coercion, 
which in the course of things necessarily devel- 
oped into systematic violence, oppression, and 
terrorism. Thus two opposing tendencies strug- 
gled for supremacy: the Bolshevik State against 
the Revolution. That struggle was a life-and- 
death struggle. The two tendencies, contradic- 
tory in aims and methods, could not work 
harmoniously: the triumph of the State meant 
the defeat of the Revolution. 

It would be an error to assume that the failure 
of the Revolution was due entirely to the charac- 
ter of the Bolsheviki. Fundamentally, it was the 
result of the principles and methods of Bolshe- 
vism. It was the authoritarian spirit and prin- 
ciples of the State which stifled the libertarian 
and liberating aspirations. Were any other 
political party in control of the government in 
Russia the result would have been essentially 
the same. It is not so much the Bolsheviki who 


killed the Russian Revolution as the Bolshevik 
idea. It was Marxism, however modified; in 
short, fanatical governmentalism. Only this 
understanding of the underlying forces that 
crushed the Revolution can present the true 
lesson of that world-stirring event. The Russian 
Revolution reflects on a small scale the century- 
old struggle of the libertarian principle against 
the authoritarian. For what is progress if not 
the more general acceptance of the principles 
of liberty as against those of coercion? The 
Russian Revolution was a libertarian step de- 
feated by the Bolshevik State, by the temporary 
victory of the reactionary, the governmental 

That victory was due to a number of causes* 
Most of them have already been dealt with in 
the preceding chapters. The main cause, how- 
ever, was not the industrial backwardness of 
Russia, as claimed by many writers on the sub- 
ject. That cause was cultural which, though 
giving the Russian people certain advantages 
over their more sophisticated neighbours, also 
had some fatal disadvantages. The Russian 
Was " culturally backward" in the sense of being 
unspoiled by political and parliamentary corrup- 
tion. On the other hand, that very condition 


involved inexperience in the political game and 
a naive faith in the miraculous power of the party 
that talked the loudest and made the most 
promises. This faith in the power of government 
served to enslave the Russian people to the Com- 
munist Party even before the great masses 
realized that the yoke had been put around their 

The libertarian principle was strong in the ini- 
tial days of the Revolution, the need for free 
expression all-absorbing. But when the first 
wave of enthusiasm receded into the ebb of every- 
day prosaic life, a firm conviction was needed to 
keep the fires of liberty burning. There was 
only a comparative handful in the great vastness 
of Russia to keep those fires lit the Anarchists, 
whose number was small and whose efforts, 
absolutely suppressed under the Tsar, had had 
no time to bear fruit- The Russian people, to 
some extent instinctive Anarchists, were yet 
too unfamiliar with true libertarian principles 
and methods to apply them effectively to life. 
Most of the Russian Anarchists themselves were 
unfortunately still in the meshes of limited 
group activities and of individualistic endeavour 
as against the more important social and collec- 
tive efforts. The Anarchists, the future unbiased 


historian will admit, have played a very impor- 
tant role in the Russian Revolution a role far 
more significant and fruitful than their compara- 
tively small number would have led one to ex- 
pect. Yet honesty and sincerity compel me to 
state that their work would have been of in- 
finitely greater practical value had they been 
better organized and equipped to guide the re- 
leased energies of the people toward the reorgan- 
ization of life on a libertarian foundation. 

But the failure of the Anarchists in the 
Russian Revolution in the sense just indicated 
does by no means argue the defeat of the lib- 
ertarian idea. On the contrary, the Russian 
Revolution has demonstrated beyond doubt that 
the State idea, State Socialism, in all its mani- 
festations (economic, political, social, educational) 
is entirely and hopelessly bankrupt. Never 
before in all history has authority, government, 
the State, proved so inherently static, reactionary, 
and even counter-revolutionary in effect. In 
short, the very antithesis of revolution. 

It remains true, as it has through all prog- 
ress, that only the libertarian spirit and method 
can bring man a step further in his eternal 
striving for the better, finer, and freer life. 
Applied to the great social upheavals known as 


revolutions, this tendency is as potent as in the 
ordinary evolutionary process. The authori- 
tarian method has been a failure all through 
history and now it has again failed in the Russian 
Revolution. So far human ingenuity has dis- 
covered no other principle except the libertarian, 
for man has indeed uttered the highest wisdom 
when he said that liberty is the mother of order, 
not its daughter. All political tenets and parties 
notwithstanding, no revolution can be truly and 
permanently successful unless it puts its em- 
phatic veto upon all tyranny and centraliza- 
tion, and determinedly strives to make the 
revolution a real revaluation of all economic, 
social, and cultural values. Not mere substi- 
tution of one political party for another in the 
control of the Government, not the masking of 
autocracy by proletarian slogans, not the dictator- 
ship of a new class over an old one, not political 
scene shifting of any kind, but the complete 
reversal of all these authoritarian principles will 
alone serve the revolution. 

In the economic field this transformation must 
be in the hands of the industrial masses: the 
latter have the choice between an industrial 
State and anarcho-syndicalism. In the case of 
the former the menace to the constructive devel- 


opment of the new social structure would be as 
great as from the political State, It would be- 
come a dead weight upon the growth of the new 
forms of life. For that very reason syndicalism 
(or industrialism) alone is not, as its exponents 
claim, sufficient unto itself. It is only when the 
libertarian spirit permeates the economic organi- 
zations of the workers that the manifold creative 
energies of the people can manifest themselves, 
and the revolution be safeguarded and defended. 
Only free initiative and popular participation 
in the affairs of the revolution can prevent 
the terrible blunders committed in Russia. 
For instance, with fuel only a hundred versts 
[about sixty-six miles] fromPetrograd there would 
have been no necessity for that city to suffer 
from cold had the workers' economic organiza- 
tions of Petrograd been free to exercise their 
initiative for the common good. The peasants 
of the Ukraina would not have been hampered 
in the cultivation of their land had they had 
access to the farm implements stacked up in the 
warehouses of Kharkov and other industrial 
centres awaiting orders from Moscow for their 
distribution. These are characteristic examples 
of Bolshevik governmentalism and centraliza- 
tion, which should serve as a warning to the 


workers of Europe and America of the destruc- 
tive effects of Statisrn. 

The industrial power of the masses, expressed 
through their libertarian associations Anarcho- 
syndicalism is alone able to organize success- 
fully the economic life and carry on production. 
On the other hand, the cooperatives, working 
in harmony with the industrial bodies, serve as 
the distributing and exchange media between 
city and country, and at the same time link in 
fraternal bond the industrial and agrarian masses. 
A common tie of mutual service and aid is created 
which is the strongest bulwark of the revolu- 
tion far more effective then compulsory labour, 
the Red Army, or terrorism. In that way alone 
can revolution act as a leaven to quicken the 
development of new social forms and inspire 
the masses to greater achievements. 

But libertarian industrial organizations and 
the cooperatives are not the only media in the 
interplay of the complex phases of social life, 
There are the cultural forces which, though 
closely related to the economic activities, have 
yet their own functions to perform. In Russia 
the Communist State became the sole arbiter 
of all the needs of the social body. The result, as 
already described, was complete cultural stag- 


nation and the paralysis of all creative endeavour. 
If such a debacle is to be avoided in the future, 
the cultural forces, while remaining rooted in 
the economic soil, must yet retain independent 
scope and freedom of expression. Not adher- 
ence to the dominant political party but devotion 
to the revolution, knowledge, ability, and above 
all the creative impulse should be the criterion' 
of fitness for cultural work. In Russia this was 
made impossible almost from the beginning of 
the October Revolution, by the violent separa- 
tion of the intelligentsia and the masses. It 
is true that the original offender in this case 
was the intelligentsia, especially the technical 
intelligentsia, which in Russia tenaciously clung 
< as it does in other countries to the coat-tails 
of the bourgeoisie. This element, unable to 
comprehend the significance of revolutionary 
events, strove to stem the tide by wholesale 
sabotage. But in Russia there was also another 
kind of intelligentsia one with a glorious rev- 
olutionary past of a hundred years. That part 
of the intelligentsia kept faith with the people, 
though it could not unreservedly accept the new 
dictatorship. The fatal error of the Bolsheviki 
was that they made no distinction between the 
two elements. They met sabotage with whole-. 


sale terror against the intelligentsia as a class, 
and inaugurated a campaign of hatred more in- 
tensive than the persecution of the bourgeoisie 
itself a method which created an abyss between 
the intelligentsia and the proletariat and reared 
a barrier against constructive work. 

Lenin was the first to realize that criminal 
blunder. He pointed out that it was a grave 
error to lead the workers to believe that they 
could build up the industries and engage in cul- 
tural work without the aid and cooperation of 
the intelligentsia. The proletariat had neither 
the knowledge nor the training for the task, 
and the intelligentsia had to be restored in the 
direction of the industrial life. But the rec- 
ognition of one error never safeguarded Lenin 
and his Party from immediately committing 
another. The technical intelligentsia was called 
back on terms which added disintegration to the 
antagonism against the regime. 

While the workers continued to starve, en- 
gineers, industrial experts, and technicians re- 
ceived high salaries, special privileges, and the 
best rations. They became the pampered em- 
ployees of the State and the new slave drivers 
of the masses. The latter, fed for years on the 
fallacious teachings that muscle alone is neces- 


sary for a successful revolution and that only 
physical labour is productive, and incited by the 
campaign of hatred which stamped every intel- 
lectual a counter-revolutionist and speculator, 
could not make peace with those they had been 
taught to scorn and distrust. 

Unfortunately Russia is not the only country 
where this proletarian attitude against the intel- 
ligentsia prevails. Everywhere political dema- 
gogues play upon the ignorance of the masses, 
teach them that education and culture are 
bourgeois prejudices, that the workers can do 
without them, and that they alone are able to 
rebuild society. The Russian Revolution has 
made it very clear that both brain and muscle 
are indispensable to the work of social regenera- 
tion. Intellectual and physical labour are as 
closely related in the social body as brain and 
hand in the human organism. One cannot 
function without the other. 

It is true that most intellectuals consider them- 
selves a class apart from and superior to the 
workers, but social conditions everywhere are 
fast demolishing the high pedestal of the intelli- 
gentsia. They are made to see that they, too, 
ar6 proletarians, even more dependent upon the 
economic master than the manual worker. 


Unlike the physicial proletarian, who can pick 
up his tools and tramp the world in search of a 
change from a galling situation, the intellectual 
proletarians have their roots more firmly in their 
particular social environment and cannot so 
easily change their occupation or mode of living* 
It is therefore of utmost importance to bring 
home to the workers the rapid proletarization 
of the intellectuals and the common tie thus 
created between them. If the Western world is 
to profit by the lessons of Russia, the demagogic 
flattery of the masses and blind antagonism 
toward the intelligentsia must cease. That 
does not mean, however, that the toilers should 
depend entirely upon the intellectual element. 
On the contrary, the masses must begin right 
now to prepare and equip themselves for the 
great task the revolution will put upon them. 
They should acquire the knowledge and technical 
skill necessary for managing and directing the 
intricate mechanism of the industrial and social 
structure of their respective countries. But 
even at best the workers will need the coopera- 
tion of the professional and cultural elements. 
Similarly the latter must realize that their true 
interests are identical with those of the masses. 
Once the two social forces learn to blend into one 


harmonious whole, the tragic aspects of the 
Russian Revolution would to a great extent be 
eliminated. No one would be shot because he 
"once acquired an education." The scientist, 
the engineer, the specialist, the investigator, the 
educator, and the creative artist, as well as the 
carpenter, machinist, and the rest, are all part 
and parcel of the collective force which is to shape 
the revolution into the great architect of the new 
social edifice. Not hatred, but unity; not 
antagonism, but fellowship; not shooting, but 
sympathy that is the lesson of the great Rus- 
sian debacle for the intelligentsia as well as the 
workers. All must learn the value of mutual 
aid and libertarian cooperation. Yet each must 
be able to remain independent in his own sphere 
and in harmony with the best he can yield to 
society. Only in that way will productive labour 
and educational and cultural endeavour express 
themselves in ever newer and richer forms. 
That is to me the all-embracing and vital moral 
taught by the Russian Revolution. 


In the previous pages I have tried to point 
out why Bolshevik principles, methods, and 
tactics failed, and that similar principles and 


methods applied in any other country, even of the 
highest industrial development, must also fail. 
I have further shown that it is not only Bolshe- 
vism that failed, but Marxism itself. That is to 
say, the STATE IDEA, the authoritarian principle, 
has been proven bankrupt by the experience of 
the Russian Revolution. If I were to sum up my 
whole argument in one sentence I should say: 
The inherent tendency of the State is to concen- 
trate, to narrow, and monopolize all social activi- 
ties; the nature of revolution is, on the contrary, 
to grow, to broaden, and disseminate itself in 
ever-wider circles. In other words, the State 
is institutional and static; revolution is fluent, 
dynamic. These two tendencies are incom- 
patible and mutually destructive. The State 
idea killed the Russian Revolution and it must 
have the same result in all other revolutions, 
unless the libertarian idea prevail. 

Yet I go much further. It is not only Bol- 
shevism, Marxism, and Governmentalism which 
are fatal to revolution as well as to all vital 
human progress. The main cause of the defeat 
of the Russian Revolution lies much deeper. 
It is to be found in the whole Socialist conception 
of revolution itself. 

The dominant, almost general, idea of revolu- 


tion particularly the Socialist idea is that rev- 
olution is a violent change of social conditions 
through which one social class, the working 
class, becomes dominant over another class, the 
capitalist class. It is the conception of a purely 
physical change, and as such it involves only 
political scene shifting and institutional rear- 
rangements. Bourgeois dictatorship is replaced 
by the "dictatorship of the proletariat" or by 
that of its "advance guard/* the Communist 
Party; Lenin takes the seat of the Romanovs, 
the Imperial Cabinet is rechristened Soviet of 
People's Commissars, Trotsky is appointed 
Minister of War, and a labourer becomes the 
Military Governor General of Moscow. That 
is, in essence, the Bolshevik conception of revo- 
lution, as translated into actual practice. And 
with a few minor alterations it is also the idea of 
revolution held by all other Socialist parties. 

This conception is inherently and fatally 
false. Revolution is indeed a violent process. 
But if it is to result only in a change of dictator- 
ship, in a shifting of names and political per- 
sonalities, then it is hardly worth while. It is 
surely not worth all the struggle and sacrifice, 
the stupendous loss in human life and cultural 
values that result from every revolution. If 


such a revolution were even to bring greater 
social well being (which has not been the case in 
Russia) then it would also not be worth the 
terrific price paid: mere improvement can be 
brought about without bloody revolution. It is 
not palliatives or reforms that are the real aim 
and purpose of revolution, as I conceive it. 

In my opinion a thousandfold strengthened 
by the Russian experience the great mission 
of revolution, of the SOCIAL REVOLUTION, is a 
fundamental transvaluation of values. A trans- 
valuation not only of social, but also of human 
values. The latter are even preeminent, for 
they are the basis of all social values. Our in- 
stitutions and conditions rest upon deep-seated 
ideas. To change those conditions and at the 
same time leave the underlying ideas and values 
intact means only a superficial transformation,' 
one that cannot be permanent or bring real 
betterment. It is a change of form only, not of 
substance, as so tragically proven by Russia, 

It is at once the great failure and the great 
tragedy of the Russian Revolution that it at- 
tempted (in the leadership of the ruling political 
party) to change only institutions and conditions 
while ignoring entirely the human and social 
values involved in the Revolution. Worse yet, 


in its mad passion for power, the Communist 
State even sought to strengthen and deepen the 
very ideas and conceptions which the Revolution 
had come to destroy. It supported and encour- 
aged all the worst anti-social qualities and sys- 
tematically destroyed the already awakened 
conception of the new revolutionary values. 
The sense of justice and equality, the love of 
liberty and of human brotherhood these funda- 
mentals of the real regeneration of society the 
Communist State suppressed to the point of ex- 
termination. Man's instinctive sense of equity 
was branded as weak sentimentality; human 
dignity and liberty became a bourgeois super- 
stition; the sanctity of life, which is the very 
essence of social reconstruction, was condemned 
as an-revolutionary, almost counter-revolution- 
ary. This fearful perversion of fundamental 
values bore within itself the seed of destruction. 
With the conception that the Revolution was 
only a means of securing political power, it was 
inevitable that all revolutionary values should 
be subordinated to the needs of the Socialist 
State; indeed, exploited to further the security 
of the newly acquired governmental power. 
"Reasons of State/' masked as the t interests 
of the Revolution and of the People/' became 


the sole criterion of action, even of feeling. 
Violence, the tragic inevitability of revolution- 
ary upheavals, became an established custom, a 
habit, and was presently enthroned as the most 
powerful and "ideal" institution. Did not 
Zinoviev himself canonize Dzerzhinsky, the head 
of the bloody Tcheka, as the "saint of the Revo- 
lution"? Were not the greatest public honours 
paid by the State to Uritsky, the founder and 
sadistic chief of the Petrograd Tcheka? 

This perversion of the ethical values soon 
crystallized into the all-dominating slogan of the 
MEANS. Similarly in the past the Inquisition 
and the Jesuits adopted this motto and subor- 
dinated to it all morality. It avenged itself 
upon the Jesuits as it did upon the Russian Rev- 
olution. In the wake of this slogan followed 
lying, deceit, hypocrisy and treachery, murder, 
open and secret. It should be of utmost in- 
terest to students of social psychology that two 
movements as widely separated in time and 
ideas as Jesuitism and Bolshevism reached ex- 
actly similar results in the evolution of the 
principle that the end justifies all means. The 
historic parallel, almost entirely ignored so far, 
contains a most important lesson for all coming 


revolutions and for the whole future of mankind. 
There is no greater fallacy than the belief 
that aims and purposes are one thing, while 
methods and tactics are another. This con- 
ception is a potent menace to social regeneration. 
All human experience teaches that methods and 
means cannot be separated from the ultimate 
aim. The means employed become, through 
individual habit and social practice, part and 
parcel of the final purpose; they influence it, 
modify it, and presently the aims and means 
become identical From the day of my arrival 
in Russia I felt it, at first vaguely, then ever 
more consciously and clearly. The great and 
inspiring aims of the Revolution became so 
clouded with and obscured by the methods used 
by the ruling political power that it was hard 
to distinguish what was temporary means and 
what final purpose. Psychologically and so- 
cially the means necessarily influence and alter 
the aims. The whole history of man is continu- 
ous proof of the maxim that to divest one's meth- 
ods of ethical concepts means to sink into the 
depths of utter demoralization. In that lies the 
real tragedy of the Bolshevik philosophy as 
applied to the Russian Revolution. May this 
lesson not be in vain. 


No revolution can ever succeed as a factor of 
liberation unless the MEANS used to further it be 
identical in spirit and tendency with the PUR- 
POSES to be achieved. Revolution is the nega- 
tion of the existing, a violent protest against 
man's inhumanity to man with all the thousand 
and one slaveries it involves* It is the destroyer 
of dominant values upon which a complex sys- 
tem of injustice, oppression, and wrong has been 
built up by ignorance and brutality. It is the 
herald of NEW VALUES, ushering in a transforma- 
tion of the basic relations of man to man, and of 
man to society. It is not a mere reformer, 
patching up some social evils; not a mere changer 
of forms and institutions; not only a re-distribu- 
tor of social well-being. It is all that, yet 
more, much more. It is, first and foremost, the 
TRANSVALUATOR, the bearer of new values. It 
is the great TEACHER of the NEW ETHICS, inspir- 
ing mail with a new concept of life and its 
manifestations in social relationships. It is the 
mental and spiritual regenerator. 

Its first ethical precept is the identity of means 
used and aims sought. The ultimate end of all 
revolutionary social change is to establish the 
sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the 
right of every human being to liberty and well- 


being. Unless this be the essential aim of revo- 
lution, violent social changes would have no 
justification. For external social alterations can 
be, and have been, accomplished by the normal 
processes of evolution. Revolution, on the 
contrary, signifies not mere external change, but 
internal, basic, fundamental change. That in- 
ternal change of concepts and ideas, permeating 
ever-larger social strata, finally culminates in the 
violent upheaval known as revolution. Shall 
that climax reverse the process of transvalua- 
tion, turn against it, betray it? That is what 
happened in Russia. On the contrary, the 
revolution itself must quicken and further the 
process of which it is the cumulative expres- 
sion; its main mission is to inspire it, to carry 
it to greater heights, give it fullest scope for 
expression. Only thus is revolution true to 

Applied in practice it means that the period 
of the actual revolution, the so-called transitory 
stage, must be the introduction, the prelude to 
the new social conditions. It is the threshold 
to the NEW LIFE, the new HOUSE OF MAN AND 
HUMANITY. As such it must be of the spirit of 
the new life, harmonious with the construction 
of the new edifice. 


To-day is the parent of to-morrow. The 
present casts its shadow far into the future. 
That is the law of life, individual and social. 
Revolution that divests itself of ethical values 
thereby lays the foundation of injustice, deceit, 
and oppression for the future society. The 
means used to prepare the future become its 
cornerstone. Witness the tragic condition of 
Russia. The methods of State centralization 
have paralysed individual initiative and effort; 
the tyranny of the dictatorship has cowed the 
people into slavish submission and all but ex- 
tinguished the fires of liberty; organized terror- 
ism has depraved and brutalized the masses 
and stifled every idealistic aspiration; insti- 
tutionalized murder has cheapened human life, 
and all sense of the dignity of man and the value 
of life has been eliminated; coercion at every 
step has made effort bitter, labour a punish- 
ment, has turned the whole of existence into a 
scheme of mutual deceit, and has revived the 
lowest and most brutal instincts of man. A 
sorry heritage to begin a new life of freedom and 

It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that rev- 
olution is in vain unless inspired by its ultimate 
ideal. Revolutionary methods must be in tune 


with revolutionary aims. The means used to 
further the revolution must harmonize with its 
purposes. In short, the ethical values which 
the revolution is to establish in the new society 
must be initiated with the revolutionary ac- 
tivities of the so-called transitional period. 
The latter can serve as a real and dependable 
bridge to the better life only if built of the same 
material as the life to be achieved. Revolution 
is the mirror of the coming day; it is the child 
that is to be the Man of To-morrow.